Benjy & Quentin sections of The Sound & the Fury Sample Essay
Tomorrow. and tomorrow. and tomorrow
Creepss in this junior-grade gait from twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours
To the last syllable of recorded clip.
And all our yesterdays have lighted saps
The manner to dusty decease. Out. out. brief taper.
Life’s but a walk-to shadow. a hapless participant
That struts and frets his hr upon the phase.
And so is heard no more. It is a narrative
Told by an imbecile. full of sound and rage.
( Macbeth: V. v. 18-27 )
These Shakespearian poetries lend William Faulkner the rubric of this novel.
and speak of the doctrine behind it. In this monologue. Macbeth implies that the life is merely a shadow of the yesteryear. He idealizes the illustriousness of the yesteryear. and expresses his inability as a modern adult male to accomplish that illustriousness. “Faulkner reinterprets this thought. ” remark Phillips & A ; Johnson. “implying that if adult male does non take to take his ain life. as Quentin does. the lone options are to go either a cynic and materialist like Jason.
or an imbecile like Benjy. unable to see life as anything more than a nonmeaningful series of images. sounds. and memories. ”1
The three Compson brothers reveal their positions through their watercourses of consciousness in the first three subdivisions of the novel. The 4th subdivision is the position of “the storyteller. ” Before we attempt to compare the first two subdivisions of the novels i. e. the positions of Benjy and Quentin. we must non bury the decision of Donald Kartiganer. as he analyses the signifier of the novel. “None of the four narratives speak to another. each imagined order naturals out the 1 that precedes it. Truth is the nonmeaningful amount of four points. that seem to hold no concern being added: Benjy plus Quentin plus Jason plus ‘the narrator’ . ‘You convey them together’ . ” he quotes Faulkner. ” ‘…and…nothing happens’ . ” 2
Benjy Compson is a mentally retarded 30 twelvemonth old adult male at the clip of narrative. Although he can non talk. he frequently registers his protest in the signifier of loud unpleasant groans. and these groans are the sounds that communicate the rage. Bing an “idiot” . he is unable to understand any abstract constructs such as clip. cause and consequence. or right and incorrect. He simply absorbs ocular and audile cues from the universe around him.
Kartiganer thinks that the Benjy subdivision comes foremost in the novel “for the simple ground that Benjy. of all the storytellers. can non lie. which is to state he can non make. ”2 Since Benjy is a idiot. his subdivision represents utmost objectiveness. a status impossible to the ordinary head and far in surplus of even the most realistic fiction. “Being an imbecile. Benjy is perception prior to consciousness. ” harmonizing to Kartiganer. “prior to the human demand to abstract from events in an apprehensible order. His soliloquy is a series of frozen images. offered without prejudice. ”
The same writer realizes that “In [ his ] subdivision. Quentin [ …is ] highly subjective. [ … ] enforcing a deformed position on experience. in exact contrast to Benjy. who can abstract no order at all. ” 2Quentin is the oldest of the Compson kids. He is really intelligent and highly sensitive. but is paralyzed by his compulsion with Caddy and his preoccupation with a really traditional Southern codification of behavior and morality. He feels an excessive load of duty to populate up to the family’s past illustriousness and prestigiousness. “The One Dimensional contrast between the presence and absence in Benjy’s subdivision. ” thinks Gary Lee Stonum. as he rediscovers Faulkner’s hunt for narrative method. “is replaced by a more complex struggle between the actualities of the universe and the ideals that Quentin demands of it. ” He wants “nothing more but to replace life with reading. ” thinks Kartiganer. and “to see himself as the knight of the ideal. challenging and rejecting the temporal universe in the name of pure ideals. ” Adds Stonum.
Time in the Sound and the Fury. explains Deshaye in an effort to warrant the namesake “is a constituent of information. the increasing pandemonium of the existence. The Compsons’ lives become less stable in every coevals. so that the Southern ideals of a strong and landed atomic household come apart. ”
This facet of clip can non be felt by the imbecile Benjy. due to his inability to understand abstract constructs. Benjy does non remember. and hence can non construe. the yesteryear from the position of the present ; nor does the past aid to find that position. Alternatively of past and present being a continuum. each act uponing the significance of the other. they have no temporal dimension at all. They are isolated independent minutes. that do non come ‘before’ of ‘after’ . 2 Kartinager sees a “timelessness in the scenes Benjy relives. but it is non the eternity of art. abstracting clip into intending. It is an absence for the demand of art. ”
Quentin on the other manus. characterized by his over-sensitivity to abstract constructs such as award and virginity. is obsessed with clip.
The first half of the 19th century saw the rise of a figure of outstanding Southern households such as the Compsons. These blue households espoused traditional Southern values. Work force were expected to move like gentlemen. exposing bravery. moral strength. doggedness. and gallantry in defence of the award of their household name. Womans were expected to be theoretical accounts of feminine pureness. grace. and virginity until it came clip for them to supply kids to inherit the household bequest. Faith in God and profound concern for continuing the household repute provided the foundation for these beliefs.
The Civil War and Reconstruction devastated many of these once-great Southern households economically. socially. and psychologically. Faulkner contends that in the procedure. the Compsons. and other similar Southern households. lost touch with the world of the universe around them and became lost in a haze of self-absorption. This self-absorption corrupted the nucleus values these households one time held beloved and left the newer coevalss wholly unequipped to cover with the worlds of the modern universe.
Quentin’s first memory in his subdivision. is of his male parent giving him his Grandfather’s ticker. “I give it to you non that you may retrieve clip. ” said Mr. Compson. “but that you might bury it now and so for a minute and non pass all your breath seeking to suppress it. ” Quentin’s confusions start right off. Storhoff in his effort to happen out Quentin’s quandary. realizes that “Quentin’s watch becomes a functional symbol of his family’s dual bind. ” The ticker had been given to him as the cherished bequest of his legendary gramps. who harmonizing to Mr. Compson “was ever right” therefore it will justifiably excite. in contrast to his father’s words. Quentin’s idealisation of the great yesteryear and his effort to suppress clip. Storhoff notes that “the ticker alternately communicates and metacommunicates. and oscillates in its significance from a mark of the family’s past magnificence to a concrete representation of human atomization and devastation. ”
This compulsion with clip and the compulsion with the past continues to press him to invariably make the predecessors of the state of affairs in his narrative of past events. His state of affairs hence becomes infinitely insistent. “And to get away from that sort of repeat. ” psycho-analyses John Irwin. “one must get away from the ego. ”
As we understand some portion of Quentin’s Dilemma. it is non surprising to cognize that James Guetti. while speaking about metaphors in the novel. can non defy noticing that Quentin’s is “the most acute history in the novel. for the battle of order. ”
Phillips and Johnson think that it is the southern codification that “defines order and pandemonium within Quentin’s universe. and causes him to idealise cloudy. abstract constructs such as award. virtuousness. and feminine pureness. His rigorous belief in this codification causes Quentin profound desperation when he learns of Caddy’s promiscuousness. ”1 Stonum nevertheless refers to Quentin’s predicament as personals. and relates his ideals to personal failures: “His ideals spring from an intensely personal state of affairs. as does his failure to achieve them. ” 3 These sentiments are both right and really in conformity.
This can be understood in the visible radiation of the sentiment of Sundquist as he explores ‘the Myth of the Sound and the Fury. “Quentin’s Madness [ … ] is chiefly the South’s. whose intense captivation with the gynealotry increased in proportions to menaces against it and created the curious state of affairs in which the period of southern history that came mythically to incarnate utmost virtuousness and award [ … ] was exactly the period whose virtuousness and award [ … ] were built on the most horrid corruptnesss of the human spirit conceivable. ”
Benjy excessively. does hold an acute sensitiveness to order and pandemonium. and he can instantly feel the presence of anything bad. incorrect. or out of topographic point. He is able to feel Quentin’s suicide 1000s of stat mis off at Harvard. and senses Caddy’s promiscuousness and loss of virginity. Although he is seemingly nescient of the Compsons’ societal personal businesss. he is stuck in a clip when his first memories were formed. He clearly recognizes and frights change. as alteration removes him from the “ordered place” of the past and affronts him with an unsure universe that becomes less consistent as clip base on ballss.
“The pulsation of Benjy’s subdivision is perturbation and conciliation. ” finds out John Matthews as he discovers the feeling of loss in the Novel. “Every loss that he suffers – whether it is Caddy vanishing into matrimony. or simply his flower being snatched off by Luster – must be met with some attempt to ‘fix [ it ] back once more merely like it was at first’ . ”
Therefore. unlike Quentin’s sense of order and pandemonium that is related to the southern values and obsessed with clip as it idealizes the yesteryear. Benjy’s order “depends upon the permanency of a simple spacial motion from left to right. as he rides to and from the graveyard. ” Comments Guetti. “To Benjy’s head. the universe takes the signifier of a little figure of mottos. the principal of which is ‘Caddy’ . or as the work forces in his pasture-turned-golf-course say. ‘caddie’ . The presence of Caddy. his sister. gives Benjy his greatest stableness and security ; the consciousness of her absence – invariably reemphasized for Benjy by her ‘symbolic’ presence in the word ‘caddie’ – triggers the inarticulate moaning that seems the kernel of profound pandemonium. ”
It is this compulsion with Caddy that is high in Matthews’ remarks: “The constellation of loss [ … ] governs virtually every item of Benjy’s envisioning of the yesteryear. ”
While Benjy’s relationship with Caddy is that of love every bit good as compulsion and the attention that she gave to him. and while ‘order’ for Benjy requires the presence or symbolic presence of Caddy in his life. Quentin’s relationship with Caddy is much more profound that that of Benjy. It is Caddy’s development from a kid. to adolescent. and her subsequent loss of virginity that epitomizes the alteration. which. harmonizing to Kartiganer. “is the kernel of confusion” in Quentin’s head. which finally leads to his self-destruction.
Therefore. the elaborate comparing of the signifier and construction of the two subdivisions. and the comparing of the two characters. can suitably be concluded by the undermentioned statement by Kartiganer: “The deliberate flight from the fact that dominates Quentin’s soliloquy reverses the consequence of Benjy’s soliloquy that precedes it. Benjy has made us cognizant of the deformation of the actual ; his linguistic communication is exact. free of prejudice. It is truth. non metaphor. Yet this overdone objectivism consequences in the most simplistic of moral designs. Quentin on the other manus has plunged into metaphor ; but in making so he reduces subjectivism to an art of degeneracy: ” that are. in the words of Mr. Compson. “symmetrical above the flesh. ”
1. Phillips. Brian and Johnson. Evan. SparkNote on The
Sound and the Fury. 18th February 2004
2. Kartiganer. Donald M. The Sound and the Fury and the Dislocation of Form in The Fragile Thread. University of Massachusetts Press. 1979.
3. Stonum. Gary Lee. The Search for a Narrative Method in Bloom. Herald ( erectile dysfunction ) . Modern Critical Interpretations: William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. New York: Chelsea House. 1988.
4. Deshaye. Joel. A Brief Analysis of The Sound and the Fury’s Namesake The Sound and the Fury: a Hypertext Edition. Ed. Stoicheff. Muri. Deshaye. et Al. Up. Mar. 2003 University of Saskatchewan. Accessed 18th February 2004
5. Storhoff. Gary. “Faulkner’s Family Crucible: Quentin’s Dilemma. ” Mississippi Quarterly. 51:3-4. 465-482. 1998.
6. Irwin. John T. Doubling and Incest / Repetition and Revenge: A Bad Reading of Faulkner. Expanded edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1996.
7. Guetti. James. “The Sound and the Fury” and “The Bear” . in The Limits of Metaphor. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1967.
8. Sundquist. Eric J. The Myth of the Sound and the Fury in The House Divided. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1983.
9. Matthews. John T. The Discovery of Loss in The Sound and the Fury: A Norton Critical Edition. David Minter. erectile dysfunction. New York: W. W. Norton & A ; Company. 1982.
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