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The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text Paperback – January 30, 1991
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If Benjy's section is the most daringly experimental, Jason's is the most harrowing. "Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say," he begins, lacing into Caddy's illegitimate daughter, and then proceeds to hurl mud at blacks, Jews, his sacred Compson ancestors, his glamorous, promiscuous sister, his doomed brother Quentin, his ailing mother, and the long-suffering black servant Dilsey who holds the family together by sheer force of character.
Notoriously "difficult," The Sound and the Fury is actually one of Faulkner's more accessible works once you get past the abrupt, unannounced time shifts--and certainly the most powerful emotionally. Everything is here: the complex equilibrium of pre-civil rights race relations; the conflict between Yankee capitalism and Southern agrarian values; a meditation on time, consciousness, and Western philosophy. And all of it is rendered in prose so gorgeous it can take your breath away. Here, for instance, Quentin recalls an autumnal encounter back home with the old black possum hunter Uncle Louis:
And we'd sit in the dry leaves that whispered a little with the slow respiration of our waiting and with the slow breathing of the earth and the windless October, the rank smell of the lantern fouling the brittle air, listening to the dogs and to the echo of Louis' voice dying away. He never raised it, yet on a still night we have heard it from our front porch. When he called the dogs in he sounded just like the horn he carried slung on his shoulder and never used, but clearer, mellower, as though his voice were a part of darkness and silence, coiling out of it, coiling into it again. WhoOoooo. WhoOoooo. WhoOooooooooooooooo.What Faulkner has created is a modernist epic in which characters assume the stature of gods and the primal family events resonate like myths. It is The Sound and the Fury that secures his place in what Edmund Wilson called "the full-dressed post-Flaubert group of Conrad, Joyce, and Proust." --David Laskin
“No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word than did William Faulkner. If you want to know all you can about that heart and soul, the fiction where he put it is still right there.” —Eudora Welty
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Top Customer Reviews
Versh - 1900-ish when Benji is 3-5
T.P. 1905-1912 when Benji is 15-ish
Luster - Present when Benji is 33.
Each time italics are incorporated Benji is changing his train of thought.
I find this book moving and very rewarding.
In short, Faulkner's novel is about the Compson family, composed of a mentally disabled son (Benjy) , a sexual daughter (Caddy) and granddaughter (Quentin), a suicidal son (Quentin-yes, 2 Quentins!), an uncaring and greedy son (Jason) , a drunken father, a nutty mother, and a caring servant (Dilsey) and her family. The book itself is divided into four sections-one written by Benjy, one written by Quentin (the son), one by Jason, and one by Dilsey. Faulkner incorporates a HUGE amount of symbolism in this novel (something I love). However, what makes this novel famous are Faulkner's writing techniques. The first section by Benjy is pretty darn confusing, for Benjy is mentally retarded. Benjy's thoughts cover many time lengths and flash back and forth between times without any notice or any indication. The reader must figure out when something occurs. Often, only one paragraph may take place in time A, then it will switch to time B for a page, time C for a sentence, time B for 3 pages, and so on. Mostly what triggers these time changes are words. For example, Benjy is outside and hears a golfer call to his caddie (this occurs in time A). The word "caddie" triggers a thought about Caddy, his sister, and he thinks about a time in time G when somebody called out "Caddy" and so on. It sounds pretty confusing; that's because it is. Quentin's section is composed of stream-of-consciousness, something Faulkner is famous for using.Read more ›
The second section is told by Quentin Compson on the day of his suicide. It may very well be the best use of stream of consciousness narration ever. It is filled with long, flowing thoughts, and there are even two sections where Faulkner disregards ALL punctuation to simulate the frantic pace of Quentin's obsessive thoughts.
The third section, told by Jason Compson, the "evil" brother, is my favorite; it is a darkly humorous masterpiece. Read it yourself to see what I mean. The fourth section is told by an omniscient third-person narrator, and this section contains Faulkner's trademark flowing prose.
I can't say enough good things about this book. It is an awesome book, rich in symbolism and imagery, and it contains many well-developed characters and themes. For this and for its groundbreaking experiments in narration, I consider The Sound and the Fury to be my favorite book of all time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think that I've taken a stab at most of what are generally considered to be the great classics, along with a whole lot of other great literature, ranging from Raymond Chandler to... Read morePublished 2 hours ago by pktiberius
Classic Faulkner. I read the story years ago and am re-reading it for my American Lit class.Published 2 days ago by Tammy
Great writer, southern dialog adds flavor but sometimes difficult to understandPublished 4 days ago by Lola
I absolutely despise Faulkner and the premise of the idoltry of the female main character.
However, it's still better than Shakespeare as far as required readings go.
This is a very highbrow piece. I ought to know. I have an MA in English lit., and I have to confess that I just can't read this book. Read morePublished 24 days ago by mestrand
I mean, its one of the classics. I personally didn't care for it a lot. It very much feels like Faulkner was attempting to write a novel knowing what he needed to do so people... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Everett Garnett
William Faulkner's 1929 magnum opus tends to be ranked among the most difficult-to-read novels of the 20th century, which is kind of the main reason why it continues to be studied... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Scott Collins