The Discovery of Loss in The Sound and the Fury

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John T. Matthews writes about the discovery of loss in The Sound and The Fury. He makes the relation of loss by the fact that the characters are in grief due to their loss throughout the novel. John T. Matthews discusses the topic of loss in The Sound and the Fury. Matthews speaks about the preface and how “writing implicates the writer in an economy of loss. He repeatedly says that Faulkner ecstasy of writing becomes lost once “the pleasure of writing is release[d]” (372) that the pages loss it’s virginity, which is at first an ecstasy and afterwards a loss, offering a “cold satisfaction” (372).

Matthews writes that the characters are lost once they are written down in Faulkner’s view. That if Faulkner is writing the memories of Caddy he is in fact loosing Caddy himself as Caddy’s brothers had too. Matthews focuses on Jason and how loss has affected him in his “sane” eyes. Jason’s bad behaviour as a child depends when he reaches adulthood. He takes his loss to the pursuit of happiness through money and to redeem the family through wealth. The only one who he could depend on was Damuddy and he acts severely on the loss of his grandmother.

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According to Matthews, Jason’s need to obtain money is from “his inability to speak his grief” (376). Jason didn’t have an extravagance as his brother and his father did, he had to slave to obtain a life for his family. Matthew argues that Jason’s chance for the future rested on the job that he was promised by Herbert Head, he lost the job, Damuddy and Caddy before he could ever possess them. Although Quentin will not be bought off by Herald to “take” Caddy, because Jason never actually possessed her.

Matthew is discussing that Jason continues with his “futile schemes” and as he does, the more which he will lose the more he will try to compensate for it. The idea of gain and loss has been shown not only though Jason, but all the Compsons’. Jason also manipulates Quentin to attempt emotional wealth as well. Jason is jealous that Caddy has not been there for him, as she had for other men, sexual or comforting sister, therefore he treats her child like the sister that he never had. Jason is considered a father to Quentin, and he serves as a “husband” figure to Caddy.

Matthews is indicating that Jason has thought of his sister is a sexual way, but replaces his thoughts toward money. As well as Lorraine, she could be bought and lost. Lorraine is almost a mother figure towards Jason than a sexual partner. Faulkner searched for an ending in The Sound and the Fury, the characters have not seen a resolution nor, has the readers. The characters are trying to find the resolution but in fact end with irresolution and are attracting a sympathetic reader. Each section of the three monologues brought out a certain aspect of the characters.

Matthews quotes Faulkner about how the book has failed and he tried to redeem the book with each new chapter. Every chapter is trying to find the ending to get it right. Matthews believes that section four does not arrive at the truth and does not direct the authority of directing how the readers feel. He argues that “the last section also puzzles over its own inability to get it ‘right’ ” (387). Matthews discusses that the Sermon would have tied together the book once Dilsey realized that the message he was preaching applies to the Compsons’ rise and fall, although he continues to write and the chapter seems to fall apart.

As in the opening paragraph in Benjy’s section it began as a strong image, and began to unravel. Matthews also thinks that the symbolism doesn’t work in his book, because it is never fully developed. Matthews uses a deconstructive method for his essay of The Discovery of Loss in The Sound and the Fury. He has many useful assumptions of the book, and he completely breaks The Sound and the Fury into pieces to prove his points. The parts of the essay that attracts the reader’s attention are the aspects about Faulkner’s sense of writing, Jason, and Dilsey’s section.

Matthews argues with certain aspects that other critics have brought up. He agrees with Faulkner’s sense of trying to get the book “right” failed, and that made the book become a success. Although he disagrees with certain critics about the symbolism, he believes that the symbolism doesn’t work in the book “The symbolism of this section tries to make itself explicit and to represent universal abstractions, but it proves as stiffly falsifying as Benjy’s signs or Quentin’s obsessive imagery…” (391).

Matthews’s gains a great deal by using the method of deconstructing the essay; he makes many assumptions which the reader could easily agree with after reading the book. He makes subtle insights that attract the readers to relate to his assumptions. He makes the reader see that the discovery of loss is an essential aspect in the novel, and grief plays a huge part of the book for the characters. The reactions which I had about essay the by Matthews was that I had agreed with most of the points he made.

He deconstructs the essay in many ways, which I find interesting. The point where Matthews discusses the sense of “ecstasy” of writing could be lost once the idea has been written down. Matthews argues that “Each section tries to get the story ‘right,’ and each fails; the novel advances by admitting its own impossibility, accumulates authority by impugning it, succeeds by failing” (374) I agree with this I related with his argument because, the fact that the book failed, I felt a sense of loss as the characters did it the first three sections.

I found the points about Jason useful, because as a character I related to him the least in all the sections in The Sound and the Fury. Matthews clarifies Jason’s actions and characteristics in much detail, and how his search for wealth is due to his loss of his grandmother and the promised job. I found it interesting that Matthews relates Jason to a father figure to Quentin, and a “surrogate husband” (381) to Caddy.

It appealed to me that Matthews compares Lorraine to a mother figure than a lover, and that to Jason he could buy Lorraine and when he “looses” her he could recover. The section of Matthews’s essay which I found frustrating was when he was talking about Dilsey’s section and the service she attended. At first I couldn’t comprehend the issue he was making the reader aware, although afterwards I agreed with his assumption. In the last section Faulkner wanted to tie the book together with an authoritative voice but fails.

The book could have been tied together at the section of the sermon although; since Faulkner continues to write he indeed fails to bring the book to a whole. Matthews discusses several aspects in his essay, he deconstructs the novel. He discusses symbolism, the character’s complex with grief and how the book succeeds by its failure. Matthews tears apart the novel and gives another point of view for the readers. His point of view makes the reader realise many aspects of the book which they have not thought of before reading his compelling essay.

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The Discovery of Loss in The Sound and the Fury. (2017, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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