Thursday 11 October 2012

The Sound and The Fury - William Faulkner

The Compson family were once  an aristocratic southern family. Times are tough for them and it's hard for them to come to terms with the fact that their place in society has changed. The mother tries to cling on to the past which makes her ill and effects each of her four children in different ways. In their own right each of the Compson children have their own daemons to fight. Benjy fights to be recognised, Quentin fights his depression and his fathers expectations, Caddy fights for her independence and for Benjy, Jason fights to improve their standing and his economic status.

I found this quite difficult to get into at first. The book is split into four sections and each section is from the point of view of different members of the family. The first section is from the point of view of Benjy. Benjy has learning difficulties and his only way of communicating with his family is through crying. He also gets his information from them through his sense of smell. This whole section is disjointed and a little all over the place. Chronology is mixed up as we see the world as Benjy see's it. It makes for one very difficult read or at least it did for me.

The second section is only slightly better but that's when I finally got into the story. This time it's from Quentin's point of view. Again the chronology is slightly disjointed but not to the extreme of the first. Once I got into the flow of it it became easier to follow. The disjointed flow and the lack of punctuation is meant to convey Quentin's deteriorating mind. The third section is very easy to follow. This is from the point of view of Jason and it's a little hard to take in that Jason isn't exactly a nice character. He's angry all the time and feels that the world owes him something. Everything he does is for his own gain. He's a bully and seems to enjoy exerting power over his family since he has none in his professional career.

The last section was my favourite. This one was mainly from the point of view of the house maid. It's written slightly different from all the others. The others were written as a stream of consciousness. I have to say that it is not a style I took to easily. For me personally it made it more difficult to just enjoy the story. It was harder to follow and a little limiting too. You only get a vague notion of what's going on and it isn't until others add their voices to that stream that you get the bigger picture. For that reason I can also admire it. All these fragments coming together to show a history of one family.


  1. Great review! I started reading this a few weeks ago, but because it was so disjointed I put it aside - I had too much uni work. But since it gets better I'll give it another go in a couple of weeks.

    1. Thank you. I almost put it aside too. I have to confess that I kind of cheated. I was so lost to what was going on during that first section that I looked it up. I had already guessed why it was so disjointed but reading that it moves on to other characters and becomes easier made me stick with it. Glad I did.