Sam's Blog

Twenty-four hours is like three weeks!

Sound! Fury! Blaah! Argh!

Posted by samgr on May 26, 2008

Continuing my quest to plug embarrassing holes in my reading history, I’m trying to address the fact that I’d never read ANY Faulkner. So, the Sound and the Fury away!

First thought: depressing. And sort of hard to connect with for me. The decline of an aristocratic Southern family is very alien to my experiences. Of course, so are, say, orcs, but I felt more of a disconnect with Fury than I have with other novels I’ve read.

Second thought: I actually liked the book, but I didn’t really wake up until the third section. See section-by-section analysis:

Benjamin Compson, idiot brother— meh. (Reading Augie March now, whats the deal with idiot brothers?)

Quentin Compson, depressed emo Harvard kid— meh times a hundred. I don’t have to READ about that.

Jason Compson, angry son-of-a bitch shopkeeper with twin devil-horn spit-curls— BING! I’m paying attention now; we’re back in Plainview-Hearst-land. Tell me what happens! (Spoiler: he comes back to Jefferson and makes a carriage go the other way around a statue. Um… okay. No milkshake?)

Caddy Compson, promiscuous… whoops, not gonna hear from her. “Psych!” says Faulkner, “No female narrator for you!” Instead, we get William Faulkner, omniscient narrator and— Dialect. Lots and lots of dialect. Why do black people talk in dialect and white people don’t, even when we’re no longer inhabiting a white narrator?

This all is kind of hyper-kinetic, and seems like I didn’t like the book, but I think I did. I’m just still digesting it and working out my reactions.


4 Responses to “Sound! Fury! Blaah! Argh!”

  1. sumita said

    hey–found yr blog randomly under the “books” tag. I’m a Faulkner fanatic–mostly thanks to one of my closest friends on the planet, a Southern lit scholar. He and I have a hunch that Faulkner’s inability to give Caddy a piece of the narration has to do with the notion that Caddy is actually the character who’s closest to his “heart,” so to speak . . . hmmm. anyway, interesting post–I live at, a somewhat newly-started and seldom-updated little thing.

  2. samgr said

    Cool, thanks! I will check out your blog.

  3. Barbara said

    So, this is definitely not the book I read. I will figure out what it was — very funny, among other things, which it sounds as though this one is not.

  4. Rachel said

    Sumita has the right point and on the right track. In a letter to his editor, Faulkner says that he tried to write Caddy, but she was so beautiful in his mind that nothing was good enough. He wrote a lot of short stories involving her. Check them out in The Collected Short Stories of Faulkner.

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