Swimming (not Drowning!) in The Sound and the Fury

As we begin William Faulkner’s important Modernist novel The Sound and the Fury, a novel known for its masterful development of the technique of stream of consciousness, you may need to exercise patience to understand and appreciate the expressive style of the prose, which differs drastically in the first three sections.


These differences attempt to capture the point of view, in the first-person, of each of the three Compson brothers: first Benjy, then Quentin, and finally Jason. Benjy is developmentally disabled in some way—he cannot actually speak—and so a first-person narrative in his voice seems to stray very far from realism, perhaps as far as possible. However, the effort to capture his perspective is a valiant effort to capture an individual’s subjectivity.


In Faulkner’s oeuvre, we find a complicated transition from realism to modernism. Some of his novels and short stories are far more realistic than The Sound and the Fury, and virtually all of them arise from Faulkner’s immersion in his own region of Mississippi. He created a fictionalized version of this region, calling it yoknapatawpha County. In focusing on a region threatened by industrialization and modern change, Faulkner carried on the tradition of regional writing, but radically updated it with modernist techniques, in some of his works.


“Regional writing, another expression of the realist impulse [mid to late 19th century], resulted from the desire both to preserve a record of distinct ways of life before industrialization dispersed or homogenized them and to come to terms with the harsh realities that seemed to be replacing these early and allegedly happier times… As the nation expanded, regional literature was also a way that different parts of the country were explained to one another.” (The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. C. 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baym (New York: W.W.  Norton, 2007): 10.)


It is fair to say that, among other things, the Compson family is struggling to accept economic and social changes, which threaten their traditional way of life, including strict racial and social hierachies and gender roles in the South. We see some of this contrast between the old South, and the comparatively modern North in Cambridge, Massachusetts (where Quentin is attending Harvard, in the novel’s second section) and in Jason’s interactions with the stock market in New York, and in the man in the red tie who passes through town and apparently courts Caddy, Jr. You might notice, for instance, that relations between blacks and whites are represented as subtly different in the South vs. the North.


A fourth- or fifth-generation Mississippian, Faulkner was the son of a railroad worker and a mother who had literary inclinations. He dropped out of high school in 1915, and attended the University of Missipssii for one year, 1919-1920. Thereafter he worked at odd jobs, and signed up with the British Royal Air Corps; he never saw combat.


In 1924, he published a book of poems, The Marble Faun. In 1925 he visited New Orleans, where he met Sherwood Anderson (author of Winesburg, Ohio [1919]), and wrote his first novel, Soldier’s Pay (1926). Anderson helped him to publish it, and, a regionalist writer himself, gave Faulkner some crucial advice:  “You have to have somewhere to start from: then you begin to learn,” he told me. “It dont matter where it was, just so you remember it and aint ashamed of it. Because one place to start from is just as important as any other. You’re a country boy; all you know is that little patch up there in Mississippi where you started from.”


Faulkner returned to Oxford, Mississippi, and married his (divorced) high school sweetheart, Estelle, in 1929. They had one daughter. In 1930 he bought Rowan Oak, a Greek Revival antebellum house, and begin to restore it. He lived there the rest of his life, and drew on local histories, gossip, and folklore for his fiction.


He published nineteen novels and many short stories, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950. He is widely acknowledged to be America’s greatest Modernist and greatest Southern novelist. Though he moved back toward realism after The Sound and the Fury (1929), many of his best novels use the technique of stream of consciousness: “A term coined by William James in Principles of Psychology (1890) to denote the flow of inner experiences. Now an almost indispensable term in literary criticism, it refers to that technique which seeks to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind.” (J.A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1991): 919.)


Stream-of-consciousness writing, which was largely developed within Modernism first by James Joyce, is typically in the first person and is characterized in its most extreme forms by a lack of conventional punctuation and syntax, to mimic the unfolding of thoughts, memories, and sensory impressions in real time.


When there is no break in the stream of a character’s thoughts, there is no break in the prose. And just as human consciousness does not always distinguish between the present and memories of the past, such narration may switch back and forth between past and present in a disorienting manner. The free reign given to memory creates a sense, at times, that we have moved into the past, although the memories are being remembered in the present. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Faulkner are generally agreed to be the finest practitioners of the technique in Modernist fiction.


As you read the novel’s first section, notice that not all of the action described by the narrator (Benjy Compson, the developmentally disabled brother of Caddy, Jason and Quentin) is actually taking place on that day. When do you notice shifts into memories of the past? Make notes in the margins when you notice apparent shift from past to present, or present to past.


Jean-Paul Sartre observed about time in the novel (see his essay in our text):

“[Faulkner] could not tell it any other way…. Nothing happens, the story does not unfold…. In order to arrive at real time, we must abandon this invented measure [the clock], which is not a measure of anything…. The time of Benjy, the idiot, who does not know how to tell time, is also clockless.


“What is therefore revealed to us is the present, and not the ideal limit whose place is neatly marked out between past and future. Faulkner’s present is essentially catastrophic….


“Such is the nature of Faulkner’s time. Isn’t there something familiar about it? This unspeakable present, leaking at every seam, these sudden invasions of the past, this emotional order, the opposite of the voluntary and intellectual order that is chronological but lacking in reality…[?]”


Next week, I will clarify the first and second sections of the novel for you somewhat with a Mini Lecture. But it is important to swim in the mystery and beauty of The Sound and the Fury, and its treatment of time and perspective, in your first reading of it.


For your blog response, answer all of these questions. Yes, I know five is a lot of questions (the sixth is just to help me track your comprehension), but you need to address them all to make sure you are following and deeply understanding the novel. REMEMBER that EVERY answer must include quotations and analysis of that evidence.


  • How are memories triggered and how are they indicated by the narrator? When are italics used in relation to the present and the past? Can we describe the past that is returned to, and how it differs from the present? Cite and analyze at least one passage as evidence. (See 3-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-26, 27-32, 33-38, 39-44, 45-48.)


  • What seems characteristic of Benjy’s point of view? How does he perceive other people and animals and their movements around him? Why do you suppose Faulkner chose Benjy to be the first narrator in the novel? Cite and analyze at least one passage as evidence. (See 3-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-26, 27-32, 33-38, 39-44, 45-48.)


  • Given that we are privy to Quentin’s thoughts, what would you say are his chief preoccupations? Does he share any concerns with “The Waste Land”? Does the relation between past and present function in the same why in Quentin’s mind as it does in Benjy’s? What do you make of Quentin’s attentions to time, his watch, etc.? Cite and analyze at least one passage as evidence.


  • What seems to be the significance of the little Italian-American girl who follows Quentin, and her brother’s anger at him? What is the tragedy that befalls Caddy and himself, in Quentin’s eyes? And why do you suppose Quentin hit Gerald? Cite and analyze at least one passage as evidence.


  • Notice that in many passages there are no paragraph breaks for pages at a time. Look at pages 109-111, for instance. What is Quentin thinking about, in these long stretches of unbroken prose, which make this form seem appropriate? Overall, how would you describe and contrast the narrative style of Quentin’s section, including the point of view, diction, syntax, and figurative language, in contrast to Benjy’s. Cite and analyze at least one passage as evidence.


  • Please indicate a passage from the novel that does not make total sense to you. Cite it by page number.






  1. Benjy’s memories are triggered by everything that is going on around him. In the very beginning of the story someone says “Here caddie” (p.3) and then Luster wants him to crawl under a fence, this all leads to Benjy thinking about his sister Caddy and a memory of Caddy helping him from under a fence. The italics do different things sometimes they lead into a full-blown memory, “Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through” (p.3), this lead to a long memory about them going outside, then inside, then outside again to take a letter to Mrs. Patterson, but this memory gets interrupted by another memory of Benjy going alone to give a letter. Other times the italics indicate what is happening in the present, while Benjy is in a memory, “What are you moaning about, Luster said” (p.5), this happens when Benjy is in the memory that leads to them taking a letter to Mrs. Patterson. The past can be differentiated from the present, what helped me keep track was Luster being there or not, but at times it is even hard to determine if the past memories are even the same. Like when Caddy goes up to give the letter to Mrs. Patterson, all it says is “Mrs. Patterson came to the door and opened it and stood there” (p.9), but then it goes on to talk about Mr. Patterson snatching the letter. The first time I read it I did not realize they were different memories.
    Benjy’s point of view seems to be that he goes in and out of paying attention to what is happening around him. Even though we do not get to see what he is thinking about a situation we see how his mind works. “I could hear T.P. laughing. I went on with them, up the bright hill. At the top of the hill Versh put me down,” (p.15). This quote shows Benjy’s thought process exactly, he is thinking of a memory with T.P. and then from that memory he remembers another one and dives right into that memory. His point of view is fluid, he goes from one though to the next with no sense of time. I think he is the first narrator because Faulkner wants to throw us off a bit. He is giving us a glimpse into the Compson family, almost an outside view because Benjy’s feelings about them are not really given; it is an unbiased view of the family.
    Quentin’s chief preoccupation is time. He is obsessed with time “You can be oblivious to the sound for a long while, then in a second of ticking it can create in the mind unbroken the long diminishing parade of time you didn’t hear” (p. 49). Quentin seems to be stuck in this “second of ticking”; he is stuck in the past, in the time that Caddy got pregnant and he could do nothing to stop it or fix it. While he does know the difference between past and present unlike Benjy, who lives in both, he still lives in the past. Quentin constantly thinks of this southern code and is constantly wishing he could do something to change Caddy’s circumstance even though it is too late to do anything. Quentin’s idea of past and present do not function the same as Benjy’s, Quentin knows the difference while Benjy does not. His attention to time shows that he is obsessed with changing the past. There are some of the same concerns when comparing Quentin and The Wasteland, they both see the end of everything, The Wasteland is about destruction and Quentin sees his whole life as over.
    The significance of the girl is that she reminds Quentin of Caddy and the brother’s anger at Quentin reflects Quentin’s own anger when Caddy is found to be pregnant. It also reflects Quentin and Caddy’s relationship because they always seem upset at each other when the other is found to be with someone of the opposite sex. Quentin was very angry when he finds Caddy is pregnant and she is jealous when she finds out about the first girl Quentin dates. The tragedy that befalls Caddy and Quentin is that, first off, Caddy gets pregnant and second that it breaks this idea of Southern Code that Quentin takes very seriously. “Did he make you then he made you do it,” (p.95). This is an example of how serious Quentin takes the Southern Code, he is convinced that the man who got Caddy pregnant had to have made her and if he did he is willing to go kill him. He takes what happens to Caddy for strongly. Quentin hits Gerald because of the way he talks about girls, he takes it personally because of what has happened to Caddy.
    In pages 109-111 Quentin seems to be going back and forth from the present to the past, “I turned out the light and went into my bedroom…After they had gone up stairs Mother lay back in her chair,” (p.109). In these long stretches he seems to be thinking of the past while still going through the motions in the present. It is more obvious what is the present and what is the past with Quentin than it is with Benjy. The point of view of Quentin offers his own insight into situations while Benjy’s does not.
    One passage I had difficulty with was “Quentin hit T.P. again. Then he began to thump T.P. against the wall. T.P. was laughing,” (p.14). I don’t want to quote the whole long passage but this section when they are fighting and laughing was very weird to me and it took me awhile to understand it.


    1. I agree with you, at first it was difficult to differentiate between Benji’s memory narrative versus his present narrative. I believe this is done by Faulkner to amplify the concept for the reader that Benji is learning disabled. The sporadic recall and distraction subtly portray the workings of a person with a learning disability. I view this use of narrative to express the depth of a character similar to Stein’s style of narrative to amplify the immigrant non-native English speaker.


    2. I also had a hard time figuring out when Benjy’s story was a memory or present day. I had to go back and reread the italicized text to really understand the time frame. That is also when I noticed that the italic text didn’t always indicate a transition from present time to memory.


    3. I agree with most of what you wrote; however, I think we don’t get a totally unbiased view from Benjy because it’s very obvious he’s most fond of Caddy as is shown whenever he cries because she’s trying to leave or responds to her perceived emotions. I also agree with your comparing The Waste Land and Quentin’s perspective, but I went a little further in that both narrators thought the past was better than the present and wished to go back. My understanding of the part with Quentin hitting T.P. was they were both drunk and play fighting.


    4. I completely agree with your assessment of Benjy’s thought process, especially the notion that they are fluid and really without any structure. Where Quentin is an active wanderer of his memory, Benjy is just kind thrown wherever his surroundings trigger. I also like the idea that the Italian brother’s anger parallels Quentins own; two different men still bound by the same pull to protect the women of their lives


    5. Yes,i agree with you that Benjy is hard to understand his point of you. Benjy is mentally slow so he can’t communicate well with the other characters that really does frustrates him. It was easy to notice the italics used when Benjy is thinking because he doesn’t talk. And the relationship between Quentin and Caddy relationship, they are siblings, yet one gets jealous when they date someone.


  2. 1. The narrator’s, Benjamin’s, memories seem to be triggered by events that are happening that remind him of other incidents. When Caddy is trying to clam him down, Benjamin recalls, “Cant you shut up that moaning and slobbering, Luster said. Aint you shamed of yourself, making all this racket…” (Faulkner, 6). This passage is done in italics, which I believe is an indication that it is the past. I think the Faulkner does this so we, the readers, can tell the difference between the past and present speaking. I think hoe the past and present returning back and forth to show how certain people treat Benjy. Like in a flashback of Caddy is telling Benjy to, “Keep your hands in your pockets…Or they’ll get froze” (Faulkner, 4). It seems lie Caddy genuinely like Benjy while the rest of the people seems to only tolerate Benjy.

    2. Benjy does not seem to pay attention to much that does not interest him. He only listens when it interests him and if it could harm him physically or mentally. When Caddy and Quentin are arguing, Caddy talks about running away and that upsets Benjy so Caddy say, “Hush, now…I’m not going to run away,” (Faulkner, 13) and this quiets Benjy to clam down. Benjy also likes to associate trees with Caddy because he thinks, “Caddy smelled like trees in the rain” (Faulkner, 13). I think Faulkner chose Benjy as the first narrator to give an unbiased opinion on the Compson family. Benjy’s simple thoughts and feelings for his family give the readers the basic idea of what goes on in this family. The main idea being that Benjy isn’t very smart and only his sister Caddy really cares about him.

    3. Quentin seems to be attached to his watch, but it could be because it belonged to his father and grandfather. His watch is also a symbol of his obsession with time. Because “The Waste Land” is also about destruction Quentin seems to also have similar thoughts on his mind such as, “And the good Saint Francis that said Little Sister Death, that never had a sister” (Faulkner, 51). I think Quentin and Benjy’s ways of linking the past to the present are not to different from one another. I think the major difference between the two men’s thoughts are that Quentin’s thoughts are more detailed than Benjy’s and Benjy’s thoughts are more random than Quentin’s.

    4. I believe the significance of the little Italian girl to Quentin is that she reminds him of an uncorrupted version of Caddy. The anger of the brother’s directed at Quentin seems to be a reflection of Quentin’s own anger at Caddy for her promiscuity and becoming pregnant. Caddy becoming pregnant is the tragedy that Quentin believes that broke his and Caddy’s sibling bond. Quentin has a a very Southern idea of what is right and what is wrong and to him, a woman having sex before marriage is wrong.

    5. Since I have the Norton Edition of the novel, my pages are 99-108 for the broken the thoughts that run through Quentin’s head. At least, 50% of me assumes they are his thought but the other 50% thinks some of lines are conversations. During a scene between Quentin and Caddy I assume they are talking because it is written like this, “youve never done that have you / what done what / that what I have what I did / yes yes lots of times with lots of girls” (Faulkner, 100). It reads like it was about two people speaking to one another, which would be Quentin and Caddy.

    6. And honestly, the pages from 99 to 108 were difficult to read. It was hard to pick and chose which were thoughts and who was talking to who. I also can’t tell what is the past and what is present so I had to re-read quite a bit.


    1. I interpreted the apex of the conflict with Caddy and Quentin as the concept of incest. I read Faulkner’s presentation of these characters relationship with a tension. While in a sense Quenitn does hold Southern morals, he is in conflict with these standards by his actions; a sexual obsession with Caddy and his eventual suicide. Both of these themes are view as aberrant by the standard of Southern American morality.


    2. I agree that the little Italian girl and her brother were a reflection of Quentin and Caddy. The brother’s anger is a reflection of Quentin’s anger at Caddy. It was like Quentin seeing from the outside exactly how he felt about Caddy running around with boys. While there is an underlying theme of an incestuous relationship between Quentin and Caddy, I think that they do not even quite realize the inappropriate feelings they harbor. Quentin is very upset and troubled by Caddy’s promiscuity, but I don’t think he knows exactly why, because of his great loyalty to the southern code he does not exactly see his true feelings for Caddy.


    3. I agree that Quentin is obsessed time and that is why he is so attached to his pocket watch. A few paragraphs into his portion of the narrative and Quentin references time and he touches his pocket watch. I also thought the biggest difference between Quentin and Benjy’s memories was the complexity of the thoughts.


    4. Benjy’s thoughts are triggered by his surroundings. It does seem to go back and forth with the past and present. I agree that Benjy does give an unbiased opinion about the Compson family, he is more of an observer. Quentin does seem to be obsessed with time. The little Italian girl and her brother do seem to be a reflection of Caddy and Quentin.


    5. I do agree that Quentin is anger at Caddy,but not because they broke their sibling bond i believe it goes further then that. I feel that Quentin love Caddy more than his sister. The little Italian girl remind him of Caddy innocence that she once, now that she is sexually attracted by men. He hated the idea that Caddy changed and she was doing things she wasn’t supposed to do before marriage and that drove him crazy just thinking about it.


    6. I agree with your interpretation of the Italian- American girl and her relation with Caddy. I believe that Quentin sees Caddy as a lost little girl and reminisces on the times when she was innocent and pure. Her loss of innocence deeply affects him emotionally because he strived to have their Southern ideas passed onto Caddy. The little girl’s brother’s anger is similar to Quentin’s frustrations.


    7. I think you’re absolutely correct in your postulation of Benjy and what triggers his memories. You described inciting incidents as memory triggers which I believe is correct. Benjy is very reactive in his existence, mainly responding to events and the action of people around him – very much like The Good Anna. I also concur with your response to the little-Italian girl being analogous to Caddy. I too wrote something the resonated the same sentiments.


  3. 1. It is very evident in 9-14 that Benjamin, while he is learning disables, is aware of his surroundings and presents subjectivity in his narrative. He is strongly attached to Caddy, who appears to be the only one in the novel who treats him with understanding and compassion. Thus far, the other characters interreact harshly with Benjamin, I interpret this as Faulkner’s representation of the social understanding of the mentally disabled at the time. Within Benjamin’s narrative it is evident that except for Caddy he is treated as a burden. In the passage, Benjamin transitions from present to past when he is treated harshly. After Caddy tell Versh that she will take Benjamin back outside, Faulkner begins the transition from past to present with the use of italics. Benjamin’s memory is of an instance where he is treated as a burden and he recalls and experience with a carriage ride. After the italics the narrative is of a past event, this recollect on Benjamin’s part shows not only that he has a relative understanding of his harsh treatment, “Cant you shut up that moaning and slobbering, Luster said. Ain’t you shamed of yourself, making all that racket.” (p. 9). Faulkner ends this narrative of a flashback with another section presented in italics, this which again is a memory of Benjamin’s harsh treatment. These italicized narratives again indicated that Benjamin has some grasp on the way he is treated by others.
    2. Benjamin’s narrative is very sporadic, with the exchange of present to past narrative. Faulkner presents this narrative as somewhat self-aware, while Benjamin does have a learning disability it is evident that his self-awareness enables him to conceptualize the harsh treatment he receives from the other characters. Benjamin’s recognition of the treatment he receives only strengthens his bond to Caddy, who is presented in Benjamin’s narrative as a protector. I find it interesting how Benjamin describes Caddy, his protector “Caddy knelt and put her arms around me and her cold bright face against mine. She smelled like trees.” (p.9) Throughout the first few pages of the narrative Benjamin describes Caddy of smelling like leaves and trees, correlating her to nature. I found this to be a subtle representation of Mother Nature, as Caddy facilitates a role of motherly protection, and nurture for Benjamin. I believe that Faulkner chose to present Benjamin’s narrative first because it is the essence of the novel, Benjamin is non-verbal, however he does have self-awareness and perception, is only avenue of expression is sound and fury.
    3. Quentin’s section is starkly different from that of Benjamin’s. He is very poetically descriptive in his words. It is evident, that similar to the concerns of “The Waste Land,” Quentin is aware of the social and economic changes that are occurring. “The field only reveals to man his only folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” (p.76) This description represents the negative outlook Quentin has about society and the current time. Quentin’s stream of consciousness and differentiation from past and present is more structured than that of Benjamin’s. It is triggered more by social upheaval and conflict, rather than personal attack as Benjamin’s is. His obsession with time is Faulkner’s way of expressing Quentin’s position on the modernization of society, and his concern about the changes that are occurring.
    4. The significance of the young girl is a representation of famine innocents that Question does not see in Caddy. The young girl is innocent and meek, unlike confident, careless and promiscuous Caddy. The brother of the girl is angry with Quentin because he perceives that Quentin has in some was sexually assaulted her. This an ironic depiction of a protective brother, as Quentin is abjectly the opposite. Quentin is sexually attracted to Caddy, while no actual sex occurs between them, their relationship is strongly incestuously themed. The tragedy between Caddy and Quentin, in Quentin’s mind, is that they can not actually have sex. He responds to this anger with misogyny; “Did you ever have a sister? No but they’re all bitches. Did you ever have a sister? One minute she was. Bitches. Not bitch one minute she stood in the door…” (p. 92) Quentin is highly angered by Caddy’s sexual escapades and is furious that she has had sex with Dalton Ames. His obsession with Caddy’s sexual partner and jealousy, I believe, is his motivation for punching Gerald.
    5. In the passages presented on pages 109-111, it is evident that the lack of structure is Faulkner’s way of presenting a character’s psychological conflict. Quentin is very emotionally disturbed, as evident by his suicide, and Faulkner has crafted through the lack of conventional structure a narrative that represents this. The narrative is a poetic way of letting the reader know that Quentin is very disturbed about this sexual conflict he feels about his sister Caddy. The entire section is a retelling of an interaction with Gerald about his sexual encounter with Cady. Gerald is not bothered by this sexual promiscuity and at one point suggests to Quentin that he is overreacting: “Keep your shirt on I’m not trying to make you tell a thing you don’t want to meant no offense of course a young fellow like you would consider a thing of that sort a lot more serious than you will in five years” (p.108) This passage clearly shows that Gerald perceives his sexual encounter with Caddy as something inconsequential while Quentin is angered by it. Gerald most likely is unaware of Quentin’s sexual feelings towards his sister and is perceiving his anger as a protection of an older brother not jealousy. While it is evident that Quentin is not mentally disable as Benjamin, his narrative does present a troubled mind, as does Benjamin’s. This dichotomy is also the essence of the novels theme of sound and fury.
    6. Pg. 10:
    She gave me a flower and her hand went away. “Go on now, fore Quentin see you and have to go too.” Dilsey said. “Where is she.” “She down at the house playing with Luster.” Disley Said.
    This passage confused me in retrospect because it is Faulkner’s first mention of Quentin and the pronoun used is female. It is event after reading the book further that mother is most likely referring to Caddy, and also Faulkner is foreshadowing an issue between Quentin and Caddy.


    1. I was thinking of a word to describe Benjy’s narrative and sporadic is the perfect word. He is all over with his thoughts and has trouble focusing them. Also everyone seems to think that Quentin has sexual feelings for Caddy but I don’t think that is the case. Considering the time period of the time, he could just be overly concerned with his sister’s sexual active life. I also like your choice for a confusing passage because of the mixing of pronouns.


    2. I really like your view of Quentin’s passage, but first I have to say I agree with your reading of Benjy’s view. He is very aware of the mistreatment he receives, which is why the reader has sympathy for Caddy that continues into Quentin’s passage and his harsh attitude towards her. I also think he is sporadic and confused but mostly frustrated with his lack of communication abilities. The explanation of Quentin being sexually attracted to Caddy makes a lot of sense, though I didn’t read it that way. His misogynistic tendencies would be explained by his lack of sexual relief towards his sister, whom he blames.


    3. I really love your take on Quentin as a character disturbed by the social trends around him and that perhaps the fight between himself and Gerald were because of repressed issues about his sexual confusion with his Caddy.


    4. Your analysis of the differences between Benjy’s and Quentin’s train of thoughts made me realize that I missed the mark with Quentin. I needed to go back and reread passage in Quentin’s section to fully understand how much deeper in thought he was. The triggers for his memories were much more evident now that I went back and read his encounter with the young Italian girl. The run in with Anse and Julio when he is suspected of a crime is, in my opinion, the best section which highlights your view of “social upheaval and conflict” for Quentin’s triggers. You mentioned his obsession with time, and this is what helped me realize Quentin’s negative outlook on the world (I know, the suicide should have been enough). On one page, I can’t remember the number, Quentin thinks “You carry the symbol of your misfortune into eternity”. I think that this illustrates why he committed suicide. He had a negative view of the world and the only way to escape his negative thoughts and depression was to end his own life. His suicide was the end of “eternity”.


  4. The narrator’s memories are triggered by his surroundings and as the events take place. The italics seem to be used by the narrator to reflect on the past. An example of this would be when Benjy gets hit in the back of the head and he begins to cry. Caddy hugs him and he remembers this as “Benjy, Caddy said, Benjy. She put her arms around me again, but I went away” (27). This quote can relate to both the past and the present. In the past because the narrator is reflecting on something that happened in the past but it can also be in the present because he is saying it in the present tense.
    Benjy’s point-of-view seems to be that of an observer. He only pays attention to what he finds interesting. His point-of-view changes between the past and present. The person he seems to care about the most is Caddy. He pays attention to nature, he mentions the “rattling trees” (4) and “rattling flowers” (9). He mostly focuses on flowers. Some examples of this are “Here’s you a jimson weed. He gave me the flower” (5), “Mr. Patterson was chopping in the green flowers” (9), and “Then I saw Caddy, with flowers in her hair, and a long veil like shining wind” (26). I think Faulkner chose to begin with Benjy as the first narrator because it gives the novel a sense of ambiguity.
    Quentin’s chief preoccupations seem to be time. The fears the passing of time. He often talks about his watch and the ticking of time. He says “I could hear my watch ticking away in my pocket and after a while I had all the other sounds shut away, leaving only the watch in my pocket” (55). Both Quentin and The Waste Land share similar concerns on having things come to an end or destruction. Quentin and Benjy’s relation between the past and present seem to be the same. Quentin seems to be more aware of time than Benjy is. He is also more detailed in his narration.
    The little Italian-American girl reminds Quentin of his sister Caddy. Caddy becomes pregnant out of wedlock and that is not right in Quentin’s eyes. It is a tragedy to him because he did not want her to become a woman so quickly. Quentin fights with Gerald because he does not like the way he talks about women and he also reminds him of Dalton Ames. As Quentin is reflecting, he begins to think about Gerald and he also begins to think about Dalton. In that same passage he says “Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Shirts” (61).
    In these long stretches of unbroken prose, Quentin is having a stream of consciousness. It goes uninterrupted and his thoughts move between the past and present. Quentin includes his thoughts and his point of view in the situation where as Benjy is more of an observer. Quentin’s section is written in first person, he uses “I” throughout his narration. Benjy’s section is mostly in third person, uses words like “he,” “she” and “they.” He mostly talks about what the other characters said and did.
    The passage on pg.22-23 where Jason asks what a funeral is and then they mention a dog howling and Caddy says “Dogs are dead.” It was confusing to me.


    1. I enjoyed reading your mentioning of the “rustling leaves.” This was the primary adjective Benjy went to when describing the leaves, which I think shows the inability of his comprehension. I also agree with what you said considering the connection between Quentin and The Waste Land. Both are desperate examples of a hopeless future; they describe ends in which there is no constructive result – total destruction is critical. I enjoyed much as you described the analogous nature of the relationship between The Waste Land and the character Quentin. These fated examples are very interesting to me in that they both articulate reasons as to why their demise is necessary.


  5. 1. Benjy’s memories are triggered by key words or phrases and physical interactions with people or the environment. On page 14 and 15 there is an obvious time shift with the italicized sentence, “At the top of the hill Versh put me down” to indicate the time shift. The scene before the italics is Caddy’s wedding and Benjy is—unwillingly—drinking with T.P. in the barn. Quentin and Versh find these two, drunk with T.P. hollering “Whooey” and “Sassprilluh”. Quentin beats up T.P. and Versh tried to help Benjy over the “bright hill” and that’s when the time shift occurs. Benjy is reminded of a time when he, Quentin, Caddy, Jason, and Versh were much younger—Benjy is three during this flashback, we know this because his name is still Maury (it changes to Benjamin when he’s five) and Versh can pick him up and carry him; also, he sits in a high chair during supper while being spoon fed—and walking up the hill toward their house after playing in the “branch” and getting wet (11-12). The funny thing is, these two different times are in the past. The present is April 7, 1928, Benjy’s birthday. We know were in the present by the mention of Luster and Benjy playing golf.
    2. The major characteristic about Benjy’s point of view is his sensory perception of time. Benjy feels everything he encounters—physically or emotionally—and that will dictate where his thoughts will go next. He loses himself in the past and drifts in and out of the present with no regard for the future. For example: from page 33 to 37 we start in the present with Benjy and Luster playing golf. But when Benjy moves toward the gate where he once waited for Caddy to home from school every day, a memory is triggered and his thoughts go back to the day he committed his greatest sin, staring and moaning at the school-girls where Caddy used to go to school but he doesn’t realize that Caddy is married and not in school anymore. However, during this time shift, Benjy is older and the school-girls get so nervous that they begin “walking fast, with their heads turned” (33) and the louder Benjy tried to talk—moan—to them, the faster they walked. When T.P. goes to Benjy and tells him to stop “moaning and slobbering through the fence” (33) another memory is triggered to a scene further into the past. Now Benjy is much younger and he hears his father scolding Jason for letting Benjy get out of the house—presumably because he’s showing more signs of his learning disability and his family wants to hide him for as long as possible (34). When he touches the gate, his memory goes back to the day he, unintentionally, scared the school girls. Then, he starts falling down the hill and is suddenly brought back into the present with Luster and golfing. Benjy shows us the actual story around him. He doesn’t have the capacity to change details or focus on himself and his feelings. He just knows everything that is visible and within listening distance—just like a baby only knows who is with them when they see them or hear them. It’s the closest perspective to the actual story we get in this novel. Which is why Faulkner chose Benjy to be the first narrator; to show the pure explanation of various situations that the other narrators tell with more bias or judgment.
    3. Quentin’s chief preoccupation is his sister Caddy and time. A shared concern he has with “The Waste Land” is the idea of failed relationship concerning himself and Caddy. For example: on page 50, last paragraph, Quentin thinks about death and if he were to go to Hell then it wouldn’t be so bad if “nobody else [was] there but her and me” (50) if all “would have fled hell except us” (51) then he wouldn’t hate it so much. But their relationship is marred by his sexual feelings towards his sister thus, resulting in the failed sibling relationship they could have had. Quentin’s relationship with the past and the present, however, is another matter. He is suicidal and the present holds the most pain for him. As a result, he tries to escape the present by preoccupying his thoughts with the past and obsess over how he could’ve changed it. Time is a prison for Quentin and wants to escape it by having his watch—the symbol for chronological time—turned “face-down” and turning himself away from it (49) to deny the present and remember the past.
    4. The Italian-American girl reminds Quentin of Natalie. Specifically, the time he called her “a dirty girl” (85) and Caddy was jealous of Natalie. When he sees how dirty the little girl is, his thoughts are taken back when Caddy showed him affection that may have been a little more than motherly. The little girl’s brother showed similar affection toward his sister and reminds Quentin of his love for his sister and the irony makes him laugh hysterically. The tragedy, however, is Caddy and Quentin never able to have a functional, healthy, sibling relationship with each other because of their disturbing feelings for each other. Gerald becomes Dalton Ames in Quentin’s mind and he imagines he is fighting with Dalton—who took Caddy’s virginity—but he is really getting a black eye from Gerald (104-105).
    5. Section 109 – 111 is Quentin’s internal monologue signifying his oncoming death. He seems to be drifting in and out of the present but the past he thinks of is choppy. I had a difficult time deciphering the time shifts here but he seems to be in a conversation with someone. I believe it to be either his father, Caddy, or his mother. Maybe he’s thinking of everyone in his family because he wants them to be the last coherent (?) thoughts he has. These long, unbroken stretches of prose do make the reading go faster. That faster reading could signify the faster moving time towards the end of his life and his impatience to escape time.
    6. I still find most of the 109 – 111 section to be incredibly confusing and I also had trouble the passage 94 – 104. Some parts are a little clearer than others but since it is all written in fragments it seems a bit scattered.


    1. Your interpretation for Quetin’s unrelentless thoughts is very insightful and I did not think about the points you made but they make a lot of sense. When someone is close to their death their thoughts do seem to ramble and naturally one tends to think about their family. The fact that his thoughts are unbroken could be because he is in a state of panic or simply emotional distress, all of which could relate to the fact that he is near death.


  6. Memories are triggered whenever Benjy hears the word “caddie” which reminds him of his sister who is called Caddy(pg. 3), or loud sounds around him like singing (pg. 17). Italics are used when Benjy is thinking about the past, and when he is describing how he feels or what is happening in the present. It is difficult to describe the past that is returned to and how it differs from the present, and requires close attention to settings and details. I think that Benjy recalls these memories because he remembers a significant way that he is spoken to, or told to be quiet and stop crying.
    Benjy’s point of view seems to be sporadic as he has a difficult time following along with conversations around him unless they are about him. Benjy’s perspective is self-centered and reflects the ways that he feels and how the world around him affect him. For example, when the kids are down at the branch playing in the water, Caddy threatens to run away. Benjy responds in protest in the only way that he can express himself, by crying and yelling, because he loves his sister and does not want her to leave him (pg. 13). Benjy pays close attention to the movements of the people and animals around him. I think that this may be due to how cautious Benjy is when it comes to loud sounds and aggressive movements. On page 18, he makes mention of the way that the calf in the pigpen nuzzled her head over the door because she hadn’t been fed yet. Benjy is observant of the animals and nature around him, and seems to enjoy being outside to enjoy it. He recalls the way Caddy smells like trees, and how the cold sun feels on his face. I suppose that Faulkner chose Benjy to be the first narrator in the novel because of his purity. He sees the world around him through an unbiased lens that is different from his siblings and the other characters in the story, due to his inability to speak and care for himself like the others. His view point is innocent and pure, and although difficult to follow, this gives insight to the readers about the setting of the story and the temperament of the characters.
    Quentin is preoccupied with the idea of time. We see on page 48 that he wakes up staring at the watch that belonged to both his father and grandfather, and recalling the words that his father spoke upon giving the watch to him. “I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it because no battle is ever won.” This alludes to the idea that Quentin may have always been preoccupied with time. Quentin continues in his thoughts about his sister, Caddy, and how her past choices might have been avoided. Quentin shares concerns of destruction with The Waste Land as he feels as though he has run out of time and his life is essentially finished. Considering that he does not have the same mental challenges as Benjy, Quentin is able to easily differentiate between the past and the present while making note of specific details that may not have been evident to Benjy.
    The little Italian-American girl reminds Quentin of his former bond with Caddy before she became pregnant by Dalton Ames. The two siblings were quite close, uncomfortably close in my opinion, and when the little girl’s brother became angry with Quentin, it reminded him of his own anger with Caddy when she had encounters with men. On page 95, Quentin expresses his anger for Caddy’s choices with men when he said “did he make you then he made you do it let him he was stronger than you and he tomorrow I’ll kill him”. Quentin feels that Caddy’s pregnancy and their strained relationship is a tragedy, so much so that he offers to tell his father that he had an incestuous relationship with Caddy and is the father to her child.
    The writing on pages 109-111 was very difficult to follow because it outlined Quentin’s stream of consciousness as he thought about the past, and his own conversations that were had with Caddy about her sexual encounters. Quentin goes back and forth between what he remembered saying to his sister and recounting the details of the past. The form, although convoluted, is appropriate because it reflects the transcripts that could be written from any person’s thoughts, as they flow between feelings and remembering past conversations. For example, on page 109, Quentin recounts the following:
    While I was brushing my hair the half hour went. But there was until the three quarters any way, except suppose seeing on the rushing darkness only his own face no broken feather unless two of them but not two like that going to Boston…
    Quentin immediately transferred his thought from brushing his hair to recalling a moment from the past. Quentin’s narrative style was drastically different from Benjy’s because of Quentin’s ability to carry conversations and to express himself in ways that Benjy did not have the capability.
    One passage that did not make total sense to me was on page 97 when Quentin is recalling a time when he and Caddy were near and ditch and she told him to “stop it” and he stated that he was stronger than her. I am unclear if he was trying to rape Caddy.


    1. I also think Faulkner chose Benjy as the first narrator to show the unbiased perspective of the Compson family and to allow the readers to make connections from Benjy’s story with the other narrator’s versions of the story to end up with the whole, mostly true, story. I enjoyed your explanation of Quentin’s stream of consciousness; it really helped clear up some confusion I had.


    2. Benjy being the first narrator because of his purity is quite a good observation, especially when you said that it’s through an unbiased lens. It’s quite different compared to Quentin, who has preconceived notions about how to view the world. Personally, I can’t really tell if I like Quentin or Benjy more; both definitely have their interesting points, but I think the second part of The Sound and The Fury has an interesting narrative. The narrative for Benjy is indeed quite hard to follow. I didn’t exactly notice how much Benjy cried until a second read of the book.


  7. It appears the memories are triggered by what events are happening around Benjy. Originally, I thought the narrative was skipping around one day, but Benjy being triggered by things and feelings around him makes much more sense. For example, the kids are wondering if there’s a party going on in the house when Frony says, “They moaned two days on Sis Beulah Clay,” which prompts Benjy’s memory of “They moaned at Dilsey’s house. Dilsey was moaning” (22). I think the italics are used to represent the transition into the past or what is happening in the present when Benjy gets sucked in too deep. With the quote used above, it’s obviously used as a transition into the past while “I could hear the clock, and I could hear Caddy standing behind me, and I could hear the roof” seems to be Benjy vaguely understanding what’s going on around him in the present (38). We can differentiate what’s happening in the present versus the past because they are different situations, especially since many of the memories are in different times of the day.

    Confusion and frustration are typical of Benjy’s point of view. In a past memory, Benjy “caught [a passing girl], trying to say, and she screamed and I was trying to say and trying and the bright shapes began to stop and I tried to get out” (35). Benjy is trying so hard to make his body work the way he wants it to and gets frustrated when he can’t. Faulkner shows Benjy’s confusion through run-on sentences and repletion, as shown within this quote. I enjoyed reading from a perspective I’ve never read from before, and perhaps that’s why Faulkner decided to start with Benjy’s perspective. Writing from a disabled person’s perspective must have been rare because of the difficulty, but it would have been perfect for a Modernist writer trying to separate from the others.

    Quentin’s obsession is with time. Within the first sentence, Quentin is thinking, “then I was in time again, hearing the watch” (50). Almost every thought he has revolves around time and it ticking away, which is a similarity to The Waste Land. The narrators in The Waste Land are constantly thinking about the end of everything. In regards to the past and the present, it is clearer in Quentin’s mind where the present fades away while the past takes over, but the italics seem to have the same function as with Benjy: “my insides would be sitting still. Moving sitting still. My bowels moved for thee. One minute she was standing at the door” (59).

    The significance lies with Quentin’s thoughts on her as she reminds him of a young, innocent Caddy, “I found a coin and gave it to the little girl. A quarter. ‘goodbye, sister,’” while her brother’s anger reminds him of himself (88). The “tragedy” between Quentin and Caddy is Caddy’s accidental pregnancy, which goes against most of what their father taught him: “In the South you are ashamed of being a virgin. Boys. Men…Because it means less to women…Shreve said if he’s got better sense than to chase after the little dirty sluts and I said Did you ever have a sister” (52). Quentin hits Gerald because of his disrespectful talk of women. Even within the quote above, he might be angry with his sister, but he still loves her, and to hear another man talk badly about women sets him off.

    In these long passages, it is just a stream of consciousness, which makes it appropriate to have no breaks. When a person is thinking, there are no breaks in their mind, just continuous thought, and since Quentin is internalized through most of this without outside stimuli, there should be no breaks. Both Quentin and Benjy’s passages are confusing, but Quentin doesn’t spiral into a memory from every stimulus like Benjy does.

    The passage that doesn’t make total sense is the passage where Benjy finds Caddy with the man in the red tie, Charlie (31-33). Is he forcing her into something she’s uncomfortable with? I thought she was very young at this time, around seven, so I’m unsure why she’s hanging around this person in the first place.


    1. I would have never looked at Benjy’s narrative and processed it as an act of confusion or frustration. I agree that Faulkner must have struggled writing the point of view of a disabled person so it was interesting to read. I also think everyone saw Quentin’s obsession with time…and Caddy’s virginity. But I like your opinion and thoughts on The Sound and the Fury.


  8. In William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, the memories of the narrator are triggered by events occurring around him or words that he hears. The first example, in the story, is when Luster says to Benjy, “You snagged on that nail again. Can’t you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail” (4). The reader is then taken back to a time, possibly the first time, Benjy was caught on the nail and his sister Caddy helps him out. Italics seem to be used for different things depending on the situation. Through most of the story they are used to indicate when a memory starts and finishes, such as the paragraph after Benjy gets stuck on the nail. There are other times when the italic text is used to show what is happening in the present while Benjy is lost in his memories. “What is the matter with you, Luster said” this line of italicized text comes after the memory of the kids at the river and when the italicized text is done it goes right back to the same memory (19). The past and the present can be distinguished but the reader must pay close attention to the text. Luster seems to only be there when we are in the present so any scene without him I took as a memory. I found it harder to distinguish when a memory within a memory began and ended.
    Benjy’s point of view is sporadic. He does not seem to be able to stay focused on one thing for very long. In pages 3-8, the story jumps back and forth from the present to a memory. Benjy seems to enjoy his memories than any situation he is currently in because one we are in his memory we only see small paragraphs that indicate what is going on in the present. Benjy perceives those around him in a simple way and takes what they say literally. When Caddy threatens to run away Benjy “began to cry” and had to be reassured that she was going to stay (19). I think Faulkner made Benjy the firs narrator because it gave the reader a good look at the family and some background about its members. Since Benjy seems happier to stay in his memories, the reader gets to know the family in an unbiased manner.
    Time seems to be most the most prevalent thought on Quentin’s mind. The second paragraph into his story Quentin states “You can be obvious to the sound for a long while, then in a second of ticking it can create in the mind unbroken the long diminishing parade of time you didn’t hear” (76). He also touches and turns over his pocket watch at the beginning. So, try as he might to forget about time, it will always make itself known to him. This obsession with time can be related to The Waste Land because both Quentin and The Waste Land are focused on the end. Quentin does not get lost in the past as much as Benjy does but they both seem to trigger memories based on what is happening around them.
    The little Italian-American girl is meant to represent Caddy before she became promiscuous and got pregnant. Her brother’s anger towards Quentin reflects the anger Quentin’s anger towards Caddy’s partners. Quentin held so much contempt for her sexual partners because, in his eyes, their greatest tragedy is that Quentin and Caddy could never have that form of a relationship. Quentin is so furious about this situation that he completely disowns her as a sister (140). This pent-up rage is why he eventually hits Gerald.
    It makes sense that long streams on conscience would be show in a long, unbroken paragraph. I looked at pages 105 to 106 in my version of the book. Here Quentin is thinking about a how women have wronged him throughout his life “women do have an affinity for evil, for believing that no woman is to be trusted, but that some men are too innocent to protect themselves” (105). Quentin’s thoughts are much more complex than Benjy’s. Faulkner used short, simple sentences often with word repletion when showing Benjy’s thoughts whereas Quentin has long, complex thoughts with varying vocabulary.
    The section I had trouble with was from Benjy’s section of the story. It began with “Quentin hi T.P. again. Then he began to thump T.P. against the wall”. In my version of the book it is on page 21.


    1. I agree with you that Faulkner used Benjy first because it does truly give an unbiased point of view of the family. It gives us flashbacks to everything they have been through while not giving a good or bad opinion of anyone. It leaves the reader to decide for themselves how they feel about the characters. I liked how it gave us a few of all the children as kids, I thought that was interesting. I was also confused with that section of Benjy’s narration; I had to read it multiple times.


  9. Memories in “The Sound and the Fury” are triggered the same way that memories are triggered in real life; a word or sensation or ever just a similar circumstance seems to trigger it. The memories are shown in italics throughout the story and can vary in length from just a few words to entire paragraphs. The first memory is triggered by Benjy getting caught on a nail while crawling under a fence and the situation triggers an memory of the exact same situation where Caddy had to get him “uncaught” from getting stuck on the same nail (3). The memories also create an odd sense of deja vu at times like when Benjy remembers Caddy saying “You don’t want your hands froze on Christmas, do you”(4), and then she says the exact same thing on page 8 but it is presented as the present.

    Benjy is heavily involved in more sensory observations than anything, and he is particularly occupied with the smell of things. He repeatedly mentions how Caddy smells like leaves or trees, and he “could smell the cold” (4). Quentin eve goes as far as to say Benjy can smell things beyond a physical level saying, “he smell what you tell him when he want to. Don’t have to listen nor talk” (56). I think a lot of the reason Benjy was chosen as the first narrator is due to the fact that he has such an objective way of looking at things. Benjy doesn’t look deeper into motivations or intentions; he just sees things at a very surface level. Being introduced through Benjy’s eyes allows us to get a feel for the characters and a vague sense of what is going on without diving too deep so it allows for exploration and unveiling later on.

    Quentin is obsessed with the past and his ideals of honor and morality and nearly everything he does seems to come back to it in some way or another. His obsession with time is so apparent that when his father gave him his watch he told him, “I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it”(48). I believe his obsession also has to do with the fact that his views on morality and virginity are, even at the time of the novel, a thing of the past. Even when he breaks the watch, he is constantly hyper aware of the passing of time by being perpetually reminded of it due to the ticking of the watch. The breaking of his watch could also be a symbol of how he is trying to stop time in a sense and failing. Benjy’s connection to the past is in much longer memories than Quentin as a general rule. Quentin tends to remember in very short bursts of key repeating lines and themes in a fairly unhinged manner which Benjy’s tend to just be something triggered and then he moves on and isn’t quite as effected by them. However, just because he doesn’t have as many distinct memories that doesn’t mean Quentin isn’t even deeper ingrained in the past than Benjy.

    I think the little Italian girl and her brother are a mirror for Quentin and Caddy. The little girl is completely unaffected by walking through town and sees no danger in Quentin while the brother sees him as an obvious and immediate threat, much like Caddy’s comfort with her promiscuity and Quentin’s strong opposition. I also believe it mirrors Caddy and Quentin in the sense that Quentin feels as if his sister losing her virginity has taken her in a way, that some man has just stolen her away like the brother believes Quentin is doing. The tragedy in Quentin and Caddy’s relationship/lives according to Quentin is the loss of her virginity. In the same paragraph where he is discussing how “no women are virgins”(73-74) he also says “on the instant when we come to realise that tragedy is second-hand” (74). I believe the reason that Quentin hits Gerald is because he reminds him so much of Dalton Ames, or perhaps he just got lost in his thoughts and acted out his hostility towards Dalton on Gerald, because he feels that he is the one who has stolen Caddy away from him since he is the most likely suspect to be the father of her child.

    I think the lack of breaks works so well on pages like 109-111 because Quentin is so obviously overwhelmed and essentially spiraling through a mixture of memories and the present. His memories in this section are so different from Benjy’s because there is so much speculation and reflection on deeper meanings while Benjy most likely would have looked at it and just said they were sleeping without little deeper meaning or interpretation involved. Benjy probably wouldn’t have even took notice that when she pretended that Caddy “was never a queen or fairy she was always a king or giant in general”(109) because it would have never occurred to him, and if it did, it wouldn’t be something he would dwell on or particularly note. I also don’t think Benjy would make so many allusions to things like the bible since he is obviously nowhere near as educated or articulate as Quentin.

    I believe I’ve gotten most of “The Sound and the Fury” but the only thing that still seems a bit odd was the thing with Caddy and Benjy delivering the letter to Mrs. Patterson on page 9. I’m fairly positive there was an affair going on, but I’m just not 100% clear why it was mentioned. I assumed it would tie back to Quentin or Caddy’s sense of morality with sex and whatnot, but I never really noticed it getting explicitly tied back in.


    1. I agree that the passage keeps going on because that is the way Quentin thoughts are in his head. Also that he is able to analyze those memories and realize that they are memories, unlike Benjy. Maybe for your last answer, the affair represents the forbiddance of a certain type of sexual avenue that shouldn’t be crossed as the feeling Quentin and Caddy seem to evoke in one another.


    2. I didn’t catch too much of Quentin’s connection with time, so reading your response after writing mine really helped me catch that. I think for the most part, Quentin seems way more affected by the past than Quentin. The fact that he often repeats the same people in his mind or talks about regret for particular moments really tells me more about his character. The Italian girl may perhaps be a symbol of Quentin wishing that Caddy could be just like how she was (in his mind). Incest is quite a taboo thing in society, so Quentin freaks me out a little that he seems a little interested in it.


  10. Benjy’s memories are often triggered by the things going on around him. For example, at the very beginning of the story when he is going under the fence and gets caught. Luster tells Benji “‘Can’t you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail.’ Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through” (3). That situation automatically triggered a memory of Benjy and Caddy once going under the fence and him getting caught in it. From my understanding, the italics indicate when the narrator is referring to past experiences, such as the one indicated above.
    In some cases the past is often different from the present situation as far as the emotion that is presented. In once case, his mother is loving to Benjy and treats him as a child; he then remembers a time where that that affection was absent between him an Luster (6).

    Benjy seems to not be able to pay attention for long periods of time. I suppose Faulkner chose Benjy to be the first narrator to present a stream of consciousness of this particular narrator. He seems to focus on very basic things that are going on around him and those things are what trigger different memories. For example, when he sees Mrs Patterson leave towards the fence, he has a memory of her being vert harsh towards him. This memory was centered around the flowers on the other side of the fence on the vine. These small memories and objects trigger larger memories that hold certain people in permanent lights based on that memory.

    Quentin seems to be preoccupied with the issue of time. On page 48 he stares at a watch, “it was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his fathers.” It seems that not only is he concerned about time but about living up to the standard of his father and grandfather. He seems to be stuck in the past remembering when Caddy became pregnant. There is a stream of consciousness that is similar to Benjy’s as he becomes preoccupied with other thoughts in the middle of different situations.

    I think the young Italian-American girl represents innocence and the innocence of his sister and the brother represents the anger he felt at himself for the incest he committed that got Caddy pregnant. Quentin hit Gerald because of the things he would say about girls, he took it personal because of his situation between him and Caddy.

    The passages that have no breaks I think focus on his coping an team of consciousness. He seems to go back and forth between his own thoughts and other conversations with people. I think in doing so it creates this isolation of Quentin in his own thoughts as he is so disturbed with his acts he contemplates suicide.


  11. Memories throughout the novel are triggered by the environment by which the narrator is surrounded by. It could be a smell, sound or a word that causes his mind to go into a memory. The italics indicate a few different aspects; one aspect is the difference between past and present. It also can indicate the change of perspective between characters through the use of Stream of Consciousness. The author uses this type of narration to help develop the plot and to help the reader gain insight through different perspectives or thought processes. We can see the difference between past and present because many times the context will state the time change. “Some days in late August at home are like this, the air thin and eager like this, with something in it sad and nostalgic and familiar…” Benjys point of view on things are constantly changing, either he is fully engaged with what is currently happening or he is usually caught up in past memories. I think the Faulkner chooses him to be the first narrator because to begin a novel there must be background given leading up to the plot so that the reader may understand it more clearly. Through Benjy he is allows to give the present situations as well as give flashback (memories) in the past to provide information that may be missing that will help move the plot along. Also I believe he does this because Benjy could be considered a pure character like a child would be allowing the narration to be provided through the innocence of a child. Benjy sees the characters as pure people, for example, “Caddy smelled like trees.” (Benjy, p.6). This is important because he sees caddy as a kind and innocent person, as long as she remains smelling like trees that what how she will remain through Benjys eyes because trees are considered to be natural and beautiful. I think that is it fair to say that Quentin’s chief preoccupation is his obsession with time. Quentin is so obsessed with time is because he is constantly focused on a event that took place but he could not do anything to prevent it, now that thought stays running in his head like an instant replay. “I give it [watch] to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” (p.76). He is upset when caddy got pregnant and he could not do anything about it, although he lives in the past and present he can distinguish between the two. We can see as readers that there are some similar concerns between Quentin and “The Waste Land” because Quentin is not only obsessed with time but also care about society and the environment. This is actually how most of his flashback are triggered through the uproar of a social event. The significance of the girl following around Quentin is that she is a symbol for caddy if she had never been “tainted” that is why Quentin quite enjoys her company. The brothers anger is a representation of how Quentin reacted to when he first found out caddy was pregnant. The tragedy is that Quentin and Caddy could never have a normal brother/sister relationship because of their “weird” feelings towards each other. “I wish you were dead” (p.157), This shows the obsession that Quentin had toward his sister Caddy and his unstable mind. I found Quentin’s section to actually be a bit confusing because he is constantly living in both the past and present making it hard to understand the full context.


    1. I think you worded it very nicely when you said that the environment triggers Benjy’s memories. Random things like a fence, a barn, and his surroundings have the capability to remind him of the past. This is relatable for most people, when someone returns to a place or a situation they have been in before, he/she will tend to be reminded of it (kind of like Deja Vu). I also thought the italics were not only a good idea, but necessary in order to prevent confusion.


  12. o The memories of the main character Benjamin in “The sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner are triggered by events that take place and words that he hears. Just like in real life when we hear, see, and smell or taste something familiar the memories start to graze back to us and we remember. The italics are used to show the readers when a memory is happening in the story. For example, the first memory on the book is when Luster notices he got snagged on the nail and a memory of his sister helping him is shown. “Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through. Uncle Maury said to not let anybody see us, so we better stoop over, Caddy said. Stoop over, Benjy. Like this, see. We stooped over and crossed the garden, where the flowers rasped and rattle against us.” (Faulkner 3). Faulkner uses the italics to demonstrate a gap between the present and the past. However, it is very hard to understand if we are reading the present or the past unless we pay close attention to the entire story.

    o Benjy’s point of view is characterized by his memories which we as readers get to experience with him. His emotions are filtered by this as well. He is a very observant character and Faulkner doesn’t provide great detail in his vocabulary. “I started to cry and she came and squatted in the water” (Faulkner 13). Although Benjy is observant and his memories carry the story on, he is a very emotional character. Throughout the book it is stated in the present and past that he cries/ moans all the time. I think that Faulkner chose him to be the first narrator because his part is just him telling us what is going on. His memories, senses and emotions are told directly to the readers. “I started to cry, Quentin said, Caddy said, and so on” these are all of Benjy observing but Faulkner never tells us how he feels.

    o Quentin’s preoccupations is with the essence of time. “When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs not better than it fitted his or his father’s” (Faulkner 50). Quentin is obsessed with time because he is constantly worried about the actions in life, whether it be his or someone else’s. Quentin’s concerns are similar with “The Waste Land” but specifically with A Game of Chess and The Fire Sermon because time seems the most important when it comes to the actions of these narrators. Benjy and Quentin’s relation between past and present function differently because Quentin’s memories have more detailed actions as to what is going on. Benjy’s memories are simple, dull and focuses on the senses. Quentin is focused on time greatly because he wants to escape time and everything that has happened in his life.

    o The little Italian-American girl reminds Quentin of his sister Caddy when she was innocent. “I found a coin and gave it to the little girl. A quarter. ‘Goodbye, sister,’ I said” (Faulkner 88). The brother’s anger at Quentin is exactly the anger Quentin has with Caddy over her interaction with men. It’s known that Quentin and Caddy have sexual feelings towards each other and get angry at one another if they were with someone else. Quentin hits Gerald because he talks badly about women.

    o Pages 109-111 is a stream of consciousness for Quentin because they are memories of the past mixed with the present. When we think of something in our minds we don’t stop and take a break. Instead, our thoughts move from one thing to the other and it’s a continuous cycle until we get back to reality. Quentin’s section is in contrast to Benjy’s because he is more in depth with the memories of his past. His language seems more educated and Faulkner’s use of diction compliments that.

    o I would say the whole book but I do understand sum of it. However, I still don’t get pages 109-111. I don’t completely understand what’s going on.


    1. I agree that Benjy is an observant character. His point of view towards his family seems simple and unbiased. I also think that Quentin’s chief preoccupation is time. He seems to be obsessed with the passing of time. I agree with you on Quentin’s stream of consciousness. When we think we don’t take a break and our thoughts can move between the past and the present.


    2. I agree with you about not necessarily understanding a decent chunk of the book. I have never read a novel that read as a string of incoherent thoughts at times. In most books, thoughts are clearly stated in the book with “and she thought…”, or something to that effect. This is a novel I can definitely see myself understanding more upon repeat readings. It is a struggle to make sense of entire passages and, although I have only gone back to a few, it feels that things will make more sense having read the book once already. I do not particularly enjoy his writing style, but Faulkner is much more inventive and interesting as a result of taking the risk to write this way. I am used to books written much more recently and his style is something I would like to see adopted in books today, although preferably more simplistically so it is easier to understand during the first read through.


  13. Benji seems to be triggered by mentions of Caddy, particularly in reference to trees, which he frequently notes that she smells like and which she at one point climbs; “Caddy smelled like trees. We looked up into the tree where she was” (29). “The smell,” which may be in reference to alcohol, is another trigger; this seems to invoke memories of death and sickness; “There was a light at the top of the stairs. […] Caddy whispered, ‘Is mother sick.’ […] I could smell the sickness. It was on a cloth folded on Mother’s head” (39). Through these triggers we see Benji’s interactions with his family members and perceptions at different ages; each slightly blurred by Benji’s descriptions.

    Benji frequently mentions crying and his family members’ frustration with his emotional and mental issues, although he expresses gratitude and happiness when he’s with Caddy and occasionally T.P. The deaths and sicknesses of his family members seem to blur with the deaths of the animals in his life, such as his horses, who are named as people might be (the graveyard he keeps for the animals is evidence of this). Regarding his interactions with Luster, for example, he faces much of the challenges of his disability in addition to impatience and frustration; “I got undressed and I looked at myself, and I began to cry. Hush, Luster said. […] You keep on like this and we aint going to have you no more birthday” (47). Because of this, his relatively objective view becomes sad and slightly cynical in its reading; the occasionally abrupt, stream of consciousness style of the writing constantly breaks the reader from any happy points in Benji’s life, in addition to the already obstructed nature of his narration.

    Quentin focuses on the racial aspects of his life in the South versus his life in the East, at Harvard. As a result of this move, Quentin also discusses university often, especially regarding his peers’ behavior and how it measures up to the standards of the various prestigious institutions he references. Quentin’s initial description of his watch and his father’s accompanying words when he first gave it to him signify the watch’s importance; “One day you’d think misfortune would get tired, but then time is your misfortune Father said” (66). Later, this sad sentiment is echoed in Quentin’s final musings of the section; “I returned up the corridor, waking the lost feet in whispering battalions in the silence, into the gasoline, the watch telling its furious lie on the dark table” (110). Quentin resents the frequent ticking of time, indicated by this watch, which his father considers to be the death of time itself. This is similar to Eliot’s views on the passage of time, similarly stated in lines like, “Hurry up please it’s time” in The Waste Land.

    The only time Quentin is clearly happy or congenial is when he’s around the Italian-American girl; he defends her from the prejudiced baker, shares his bread with her, and tries to help her get home, although this doesn’t prove beneficial for either of them. I read Julio’s outrage at him as an inward parallel to his own complicated relationship with Quentin’s own sister, Caddy, with whom he frequently alludes to having an incestuous relationship. Quentin seems remiss that he was unable to take responsibility for Caddy’s mistake, (her pregnancy) which he knows she will have to deal with by marrying someone that she doesn’t love. While Julio is able to defend his sister (albeit unnecessarily) from the harm he worries about, Quentin is not; when he’s involved in a physical altercation with Dalton Ames, for example, he’s nearly knocked out; later, when he questions Gerald with the same inquiry regarding his sisters, he reacts in the same violent way. Gerald’s discussion, described by Shreve later, is what prompted this questioning; “‘He was blowing off as usual […] about his women. You know: like he does, before girls, so they don’t know exactly what he’s saying” (105). Gerald’s empty carelessness reminds him of the way Caddy was treated and angers him.

    Quentin’s longest musings are either about Caddy or college. While Benji’s section is surprisingly similar to that of a typical narrative in its use of quotations and breaks for dialogue, Quentin uses pages to relay entire conversations, often without paragraphs or line breaks to indicate a change in speaker or tone. Beginning on page 94, Quentin begins a dialogue between himself and Caddy that lasts for several pages, eventually culminating in Caddy naming the man who has impregnated her. This also includes Quentin’s meeting with said man, Dalton Ames.


    1. Now that you mention it Benjy is often times triggered into the past and different sections of the past by memories of Cady. He is even living his future according to what his memories of Cady are in the past. Like when he waits at the fence and watches people as they are coming and going.


    2. I like your idea of how Quentin’s view of time is similar to The Waste Land but I wish you would’ve expanded a little more in that idea. Its an interesting idea and one I didn’t think of until you mentioned it.


  14. Benjy memories are triggered to the past whenever something similar in the future happened in the past. Often times the trigger can be weather related, something someone said to him or from an action that he sees in front of him that has happened in the past. Those memories are started off in italics to note the shift change to the past and when it goes back to the present. At times when the italics come, there is a shift in scenes even in the past from one scene to another almost like a break in a sense in order to jump to the next scene in the past that has sparked in Benjy’s mind. The first instance when this happens is when Luster tells him he is snagged on a nail and talks about them crawling through. “Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through” (3). Luster unsnagging him from the nail triggers a flashback of when Caddy had done the same thing in the past.

    Benjy’s point of view seems to come through often times in a time lapse. I believe the author could have done this in order to foreshadow the rest of the chapters time frames jumping from the past to present. In the way in which the chapters goes from Benjy present to Quentin in the past. The past flashbacks also display why Benjy is reacting to certain things in the manner he is in the future. Since Benjy is not able to talk the flashbacks are his way of speaking and showcasing what he is actually going through. When he is at the gate on page five he is waiting on Caddy in the flashback. Then in italics in the present Luster is wondering why Benjy is waiting at the gate moaning. “What are you moaning about, Luster said. You can watch them again when we get to the branch” (5).

    Quentin has an obsession with time and the past. “The hour began to strike” (52). “The watch ticked on” (53). His thoughts with Benjy yet similar in how their minds get pulled into the past but they’re different. Quentin thoughts are more concrete in a way as he continues to analyze both every fact or action presented to him over and over again. While Benjy’s thoughts are more simple in a sense and are in relation to something he could compare actions to. Quentin is able to are more precise than Benjy’s and are not as vague. Although time continues to tick away Quentin’s thoughts does not they stay in the past and influence how he sees the world. Thus Quentin and The Waste Land are similar in the way that they relate the world’s despair to people’s actions over time.

    I believe the Italian girl reminds him of Caddy and it showcase just how their relationship is when it gets to the flashback. “A little dirty child…” (83). “not a dirty little girl like Natalie” (89). Quentin says right before he enters a flashback with him and Caddy. I took the dirty child perspective in two ways one of the ways was when he was talking about the Italian-American child’s dress being dirty brought me back to when Caddy was in a similar display. Often times Caddy could be found with dirt on her clothes and playing around without a care in the world. It was at that time that she was just as innocent as the child he met in the bakery was. However, another point can be seen that it sparks the memory of Caddy being jealous in a sense of another person that Quentin had an encounter with. When Caddy calls the girl dirty it showcase how inappropriate thoughts between Caddy and Quentin steam about their feelings for each other when it comes to the other being with the opposite sex.

    I believe the significance of the lack of breaks is introducing the audience of how Quentin’s thoughts are, continuous. He doesn’t have a break within his thoughts unless he is speaking with others, and I am able to see the after his conversation is over. He then goes into a long thought process that is from the past to the present and jumps around a lot. His thoughts are never ending like time. As the watch keeps ticking so does his thoughts. Quentin’s thoughts are able to analyze certain aspects and make sense of them while Benjy’s are more simplistic and free-flowing from one thought to the next without knowing what anything truly means. “They come into white people’s lives like that in sudden sharp black trickles that isolate white facts for an instant unarguable truth like under a microscope” (113). Here Quentin is able to analyze an instant in the past and make sense of it.

    There was one passage that had me stuck a bit more than the others. “We passed that house, and three others, and another yard where the little girl stood by the gate. She didnt have the bread now, and her face looked like it had been streaked with coal-dust. I waved my hand, but she made no reply…” (97). I didn’t get the significance of passing the child and her face being streaked with coal-dust. I didnt know if it was his way of waving bye to the past and the past not responding or was it just that he was passing the child on his way back. Nor did I understand why Quentin never spoke up in court for himself when it was time or when he was asked questions others that couldn’t answer answered for him.


  15. In the Sound and the Fury, the narrator Benjy is constantly having his memories triggered by some sort of action that is currently playing out and therefore italics are used to reference such past actions. For example “Now, git in that water and play and see can you stop that slobbering and moaning I hushed and got in the water and Roskus came and said to come to supper and Caddy said, It’s not supper yet, I’m not going” (pg 12) is a passage that clearly supports that past events, such the kids playing in the water, is triggered by Benjy when he gets in the water. This also shows that his sister Caddy was the only one who treated him well unlike others who that he was a burden.

    The characteristic of Benjy’s point of view is somewhat of simple-minded because he seems to not pay attention to most of what is happening, only when things appeals to him. Such an example is when he and Luster are looking for his quarter and he states that they “came to the garden, where our shadows were, my shadow was higher than Luster’s on the fence” (3). He perceives people and animals by their scents, because he constantly stating of his sister that “she smelled like trees” (6). I suppose Faulkner chose Benjy to the first narrator of the novel, because he sees and hear things that others don’t usually do, making it easy to flow through other character’s consciousness.

    Quentin’s thoughts are preoccupied by past events that he wished could’ve been fixed but clearly can’t and it is therefore a reminder that haunts him. This then leads to obsession with time and the watch he gets from his father, which symbolizes the past events that haunt him. This evident in the line that states he “twisted the hands off and put them in the tray, the watch ticked on” (53), and means no matter how hard he tries to forget that past, it’ll keep him hauntingly reminding him. The relations between the past and present function the same way for Quentin as they do for Benjy, although the thing that differentiates each other, is the detailed memories of Quentin’s happen when conflict is occurring, whereas Benjy’s are much more random and simply moves on after he remembers.

    The significance of the littler Italian-American girl that follows Quentin, is supposed to represent the innocence that Caddy embodied before she became promiscuous. The anger that little girl’s brother had for Quentin, represents the anger he himself had when he discovered of Caddy’s encounter with other partners. He becomes so angry because these partners she has encounters with do not treat her very well and feels he can do much better than them, therefore brings out the jealously of not being able to such since they are siblings. This leads to fighting with Gerald because he mistreats the women he has encounters with just like the men did with Caddy therefore prompting him to be triggered when tries to fight one of the encounters. “I was still trying to hit him long after he was holding my wrists but I still tried then it was like I was looking at him through a piece of colored glass” (107), this passage suggest that Gerald mirrored similar attributes as the men whom treated Caddy badly.

    In the passages that have no paragraphs breaks, Quentin is thinking about the conversation he and Caddy had when he discovers how mistreated she has been, and suggests to commit suicide which transfers to the present where he is considering doing. This is appropriate because he is caught up in his internal thoughts whether or not he should continue to do so, and therefore there isn’t a pause that happens when he contemplates this. The narrative style of Quentin’s section is different from that of Benjy’s because it is only triggered when a serious conflict is occurring unlike of Benjy’s occurs from any random situation. The syntax in Quentin’s section is far more correct since he isn’t learning disabled like Benjy is.

    The passage on pg 68-69 is a bit confusing starting from the last paragraph on 68 towards the beginning of 69. I think it’s talking about his mother thoughts but I’m not completely sure which makes it harder to understand.


    1. I like how you mentioned that Quentin’s thoughts are more detailed because I noticed that too. His memories focus on the depth of what happened and I believe that his past memories do haunt him more than Benjy’s. Aside from Quentin, Benjy’s memories are random and seem to happen when he sees an animal or nature. However is memories are highly contrasted against Quentin’s because he only states the whole memory without going into detail.


  16. 1) Throughout “April 7th, 1928”, Benjy goes through a number of flashbacks once certain events happen within the narrative. Whenever we travel back to the past to scry on past events, Faulkner utilizes the use of italics in order to easily separate the past and the present. As far as the past is concerned, it does seem to shed more light into some of the character’s inner thoughts, such as Luster. In 19.6, Luster during one of the flashbacks says something along the lines of “What is the matter with you… Can’t you get done with that moaning and play in the branch like folks,” criticizing Benyj for not acting like a regular kid. He seems quite more abrasive in the flashback as well, calling Benjy “a looney” as well, and that people around don’t like to look at them.

    2) His point of view is special in the sense that he always seems to be reflecting back to the past, whether it’s in the middle of conversations or deliberately to look back into the past. All of these memories in the past seem to guide how he’ll move forward in the present. He can perfectly remember what happened, and perhaps how he made them feel, and because of this, he constantly changes throughout the story. To some extent, some of his flashback seem like they’re part of the dialogue, or even history repeating itself. 19.10, where Luster said that he’s going to “go back and get that ball”, it turns out that Dan, Benjy’s friend, is retrieving the ball. This in hand in the later flashbacks, 19.11 and 19.12, where Luster warns Benjy to “don’t go over there… come on this way” towards him, warning that “Miss Quentin [is] going to get mad”, this eventually causes him to cry. He also cries whenever he sees the swing mentioned in the flashback as well. As far as why Faulkner wanted to choose Benjy as the first narrator, I think it’s just because all of the characters thus far seem to have some sort of mental or social issue of some sort. Consequentially, this also might be trying to look at a younger person first, as opposed to Quentin in the second part.

    3) As far as I could tell, he mostly seems concerned about her sister, Caddy, and perhaps time. We can see this immediately when Quentin immediately starts talking about the “shadow of the sash” appearing on the curtains, looking at the watch which to him is “the mausoleum of all hope and desire.” As far as it concerns “The Waste Land”, I would say perhaps it connects to the first section, “The Burial of the Dead”, where the sailor who visited Madame Sosostris was concerned with the future and his death, much like how Quentin is concerned about Caddy and her future. The similaritiy perhaps is within how his stream of consciousness is in writing, where there aren’t many pauses via periods or commas, much like a poem when it breaks stanza.

    4) The Italian-American girl seems to be a representation of Caddy, whom Quentin obsesses over the idea of her being sexually pure. It’s somewhat of a weird relationship between Quentin and Caddy, as there are clearly incestuous undertones between the two of them. Quentin himself doesn’t seem interested at all in other women either, and only seems to care about Caddy. The tragedy that seems to have struck between Caddy and Quentin are a number of things, mainly Quentin being upset towards Dalton Ames for taking away his sister’s virginity, evening suggesting that he might kill his family, “his mother lying with open body lifting laughing, holding his father with my hand refraining, seeing, watching him die before he lived.” It seems somewhat self-evident that Quentin definitely has respect for women because of his sister.

    5) Quentin’s narrative is definitely the weirdest writing I’ve seen in a book. It’s very similar to poems where there are no sense of breaks, and grammar at best isn’t that abundant or common as it should be. His mind seems to be rambling on and on and on about something. It sounds like he has some sort of mental disease, perhaps schizophrenia. Comparatively speaking, Benjy makes way more sense than Quentin, but this is just because we are diving into the thoughts of the character. The only thing we’ve seen from Benjy is his past and how he feels and was affected by it. I think the part that makes the most sense, in my e-publication of the book, is on page 88 where he says in his mind, “You’re sick how are you sick I’m just sick. I can’t ask. Shot his voice through the…” all the way down to “I’m sick you’ll have to promise Sick how are you sick I’m just sick I can’t ask anybody yet promise you will…” It seems to all be anger at the beginning towards the blackguard, Dalton Ames, and obsessive concern.


    1. Luster’s points in Benji’s section were the ones that stuck out to me the most, probably because of his abrasiveness, as you mentioned. I would agree that Benji as a narrator didn’t seem as abstract in comparison to Quentin, especially since they both follow the stream of consciousness style of writing. However, I read Quentin’s relationship toward women as slightly hostile, perhaps because of his past, and his relationship with Caddy as unique because she was his sister.


  17. 1. The memories are triggered from the surroundings in Benjy’s environment and he is reminded by the things that happened to him the past. When italics are used in the story it shows what the narrator, Benjy’s; unconscious thoughts are triggering from the present to the past. Also italics allows the readers to see the thoughts and feelings of the narrator. “Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through. Uncle Maury said to not let anybody see us, so we better stoop over, Caddy said…”(p.3). This passage shows how Benjy is flashbacks when Caddy and him climbing through the fence. This passage shows the difference of Benjy’s thoughts is describing that shifts from the present to the past events. I think its is really easy to the difference from the past and present because they are flashbacks that triggers the moment you once remember.

    2. Benjy’s point of view, is that he doesn’t know how to communicate his knowledge through the other characters and his characteristic seems to be mentally slow. “Dilsey moaned, and when it got to the place I began to cry and Blue howled under the steps. Luster, Fony said in the window…”(p.22). Benjy is mentally disable, but he knows whats happening around him, he’s not stupid. Benjy seemed to speak consciously through his own thoughts and he observes everything around him. I believe the reason why Faulkner uses Benjy as the first narrator in the novel is to challenge the readers to understand a character like Benjy who is mentally slow and to show us a side of Benjy, that very emotionally frustrated through the things he can not express himself.
    3. Quentin is very different from Benjy because Quentin is very intelligent person that is going to Harvard. Quentin has his thoughts on Harvard, but at the same time his family had to sell Benjy’s pastureland in order for him to go to Harvard. “Going to Harvard.We have sold Benjy’s He lay on the ground under the window. bellowing. We sold Benjy’s pasture so that Quentin may go to Harvard. (63).” Such as, “The Wasteland” Quentin is aware the sacrifice his family had to do for his education, economical changes and self-awareness.
    4. The little Italian- American girl reminds Quentin of his sister Caddy and the time when she had her innocence as a little girl. “She pushed me down the ladder and ran off and left me Caddy did was it there it hurt you when Caddy did run off was it there (89).” He is reminded of the past with his sister. However, Quentin is very anger that Caddy interaction with men, she had interest in men and had changed her.
    5. On pages 109- 111, Quentin is very emotional at this part of the page, but lacks in the structure of the narrator representing his feelings. It can be very confusing to understand. Quentin is very angry the fact that Caddy had sexual encounters with men and that mad him angry. His thoughts and feelings to Caddy is very taboo and not that interesting to read about. He’s a mess he doesn’t know what to do with these feelings.
    6. I did understand some of the passage of the story; however, the pages that really had me think a lot was 93-109. I had to read it twice to understand what was really going on the passage.


    1. I like what you said about Faulkner beginning with Benji’s perspective to challenge the reader and show us the point of view of a mentally disabled person, especially since he is frequently misunderstood by those around him. Regarding Quentin’s section of the book, I actually thought that his passages about Caddy were the most interesting parts of the reading, probably because I was unsure if their relationship was actually incestuous.


  18. Memories appear to be triggered when past events relate to the present. When T.P. is talking down to Benjy and he says, “You done skeered them chillen”, the italics take us to a time when Benjy got loose, and his father feared that another adult, Mr. Burgess, would shoot him (Pg. 35). Although no more about this particular event is mentioned, it feels that Benjy is remembering times when he misbehaved and fears the way he will be treated should he act up again. But the memories also give Benjy more depth, as the connection of the memories to his present show a sort of emotional intelligence. When Luster says, “I aint touched his graveyard” in response to Dilsey accusing him of upsetting Benjy, a memory of Dilsey occurs in which he is also accusing Caddy of setting Benjy off (Pg. 37). Benjy can not communicate with anyone, but the reoccurrence of memories relevant to his present predicament show some minor form of intelligence.
    As the least intelligent Compson, Benjy’s interests are very basic and primal. He often thinks of how Caddy smells like trees, and he often mentions how he “looked at the fire” in interest (Pg. 38). When Luster is being hateful to him and blows out his cake’s candles, he cries out, and is pacified with cake from Dilsey. As he behaves almost like an animal, due to the way he scared other children, it follows that he would try to make sense of the world based on the way he behaves. He grunts, moans, and slobbers at things close to him that are of interest; the girls through the fence catch his eye and he scares them. His perspective is reduced to our basic instincts of sight, sound, touch, and smell. I believe Faulkner used Benjy as the first narrator to act as a sort of evolution for the novel. Moving on to Quentin, who goes to college, acts as a stepping stone from Benjy’s more basic view of the world.
    Quentin is preoccupied with becoming an educated, but good person. He has a positive perspective of the world, as well. When Anse says that Julio “aims to charge you with meditated criminal assault”, Quentin laughs (Pg. 92). This is a fairly positive, light hearted response for someone being told they are being arrested in contrast to the views expressed in “The Wasteland”. As a college educated man, it is likely he thought of the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” and felt the accusations were funny due to the ignorance of the people around him. Even when the judge said, “I calculate you owe Julio something…” in regards to Julio’s wasted time worrying about Quentin possibly kidnapping his sister, Quentin does not refuse the payment, even though Shreve does.
    The young Italian-American girl represents an innocence that others no longer possess. She does not act afraid despite following Quentin around as he searches for her family, and her brother, Julio represents a fear of the loss of innocence. Once innocence is lost, there is no way to regain it. The brother and sister mirror Quentin and Caddy in a way, as her brother’s anger for her for being lost is similar to Quentin’s anger towards Caddy earlier. This is made more evident when, after ending his encounter with the girl, Quentin thinks “What did you let him for kiss kiss”, and other strings of consciousness about how he was upset at Caddy (Pg. 88).
    I took the moving in and out of the present and the past to represent a sort of “life flashing before your eyes” moment for Quentin. It is also humorous that Quentin mentions he “hadn’t brushed [his] teeth”, as if an insignificant act is important in his last moments (Pg. 119). Whereas Benjy cries over what most people would consider insignificant things, Quentin is meticulous about making sure insignificant things such as brushing his teeth are done before his suicide. Although Quentin is not mentally handicapped like his brother, the two share a way of thinking in that they drift to the past when things in the present remind them.
    I still do not understand the transition that occurs on page 99 when the text goes from reading as a novel to a jumble of random thoughts.


  19. 1. Luster tells Benjy, “You snagged on that nail again. Cant you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail” (page 4). Benjy then remembers when Caddy uncaught Benjy from the nail. Faulkner used italics to show that it was a memory. Now the caretaker is Versh in this past memory. I was confused at first because I thought this part was still the present because of the lack of italics, but it is still the past. It seems to be a different memory from the past that is triggered by Caddy’s words, “Keep your hands in your pockets.. Or they’ll get froze” (page 5). Versh tells Caddy something similar in the other past memory, “You better get them hands in your pockets” (page 6). The memory with Versh seemed like it happened right before the memory with Caddy chronologically, but Benjy pieced together his memories out of order. Benjy is brought back to the present with Luster asking Benjy what he is moaning about. Faulkner used italics to show the difference in time there as well.
    2. Benjy’s point of view seems to be of pure observance. It is nonobjective and simply recalls exactly what someone did or said. He might be upset about something, but he is not analyzing anything. He also does not have any dialogue. He only has narrative and the dialogue of others to help describe events. “I couldn’t feel the gate at all, but I could smell the bright cold. “You better put them hands back in your pockets”” (page 6).
    3. Quentin is preoccupied with his sister’s sexuality and projects his beliefs of purity onto her. He feels the need to take responsibility for his sister’s actions. His insecurity in faith and religion seem to relate to “The Waste Land.” “Because if it were just to hell; if that were all of it. Finished. If things just finished themselves. Nobody else there but her and me. If we could have done something so dreadful that they would have fled hell except us” (page 79). Quentin finds out about his sister sleeping with a man and is so concerned for her soul that he wishes to take it upon himself to protect her, even that means damning himself. Quentin seems to lose track of time with the reasoning his father gave, “I give it to you not that you may remember time, but you that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it” (page 76). Quentin seems to take this advice as he looses track of time on the next page. I actually Benjy’s thoughts of the past and present were represented more clearly than Quentin’s were. I also think the disjunct timline and narrative style relate it to “The Waste Land.”
    4. Quentin seems to see his sister in the Italian-American girl, or at least wants to help her find her home. Her brother, Gerhold, finds them walking and attacks Quentin. After everything is settled, Quentin has a memory from his past that triggers anger within him and he hits Gerhold. The memory seems to be of a sexual abuse that happened to Caddy. He tries to fight for caddy and the memory resolves to the present where he tried to hit Gerald and was beat up, “You need a beefsteak for that eye” (page 164).
    5. Quentin seems to obsessively go back to thinking about Caddy, “that blackguard Caddy” (page 111). He calls her a blackguard several times as he goes in and out of memories and conversations. Benjy seemed to recall things without anger or emotion. That seems to be the biggest distinction in my opinion.
    6. I am a little confused by page 154. It seems that Quentin saw Caddy after she had been sexually abused and is trying to help her, but he keeps asking her if she loved him. There also seems to be some sexual tension between him and her and that confused me as well. I know he mentioned incest in the beginning of the chapter but I thought he was trying to damn his own soul to protect Caddy in hell or something like that.


  20. 1.) Memories are triggered by previous events that occurred throughout the character’s life. For example, “Caddy smells like trees” is repeated multiple times throughout the story by Benjy. Benjy has special needs and is often regarded as an “idiot” so his interpretation with things is often skewed. His sister Caddy is the only female character that he associates himself with. He has childhood memories of them both playing in the woods when they were young and he cherishes those times of innocence and purity. The use of italics were to transfer between points in time. Often times they signal a flashback such as, “We climbed the fence, where the pigs were grunting and snuffling. I expect they’re sorry because one of them got killed today, Caddy said. The ground was hard, churned and knotted. Keep your hands in your pockets, Caddy said. Or they’ll get froze. You don’t want your hands froze on Christmas, do you.” (10) Benjy frequently got lost in his nostalgia and this thoughts/memories would interrupt his dialogue. We are able to distinguish between the present and the past by relating what context of the story says to the time period that it associates with. It is especially difficult seeing how the characters sporadically transfer time periods.
    2. Benjy is mentally impaired. He sees the world significantly different than people without disabilities. He does not keep his attention on one thing for very long and jumps from conscious thoughts to subconscious thinking. “What are you moaning about, Luster said. You can watch them again when we get to the branch. Here. Here’s you a jimson weed. He gave me
    the flower. We went through the fence, into the lot” (30) is an example of his sporadic attention span. The context before that was discussing his conversation between Uncle Maury and Caddy. I believe Faulkner wanted a “child-like” interpretation as an introduction to his story. He wanted the most innocent and objective view of the world and Benjy is the perfect character to do that with. His unique viewpoint of the world was something that I believe Faulkner wanted to build on.
    3.Quentin is very much distraught and preoccupied with his sister Caddy and her pregnancy. He refuses to see his sister as anything but pure and repeatedly attempts to project his beliefs on to her. His battle with his faith is similar to that of “The Wasteland” and also his dedication to his family by always willing to sacrifice anything for that of his family. The difference between Benjy and Quentin’s stream of consciousness is that Benjy consistently jumps back and forth between past and present time and Quentin is able to relate his thoughts to present time.
    4.Quentin feels as though the little girl is symbolic of his sister Caddy. The fact that Caddy was “lost” and got pregnant channeled similar angry emotions that the little girl’s brother had towards her.
    5. The lack of paragraph breaks could contribute to his constant stream of consciousness. However by reading the passages it sounds like he is alternating between past and present tense. Almost as if he is getting lost in his own thoughts. “You pushed me it was your fault it hurt me too
    We were dancing sitting down I bet Caddy cant dance sitting down. Stop that stop that
    I was just brushing the trash off the back of your dress. You keep your nasty old hands off of me it was your fault you pushed me down I’m mad at you” (111) is an example of him acknowledging anger towards his sister but also not entirely understanding why she was upset at the situation. He seems preoccupied by his sister and making sure she is okay and not upset at him.
    6. I am still somewhat confused about the passages from pages 112 to the beginning of 113. As previously discussed this is occurring with Quentin however why does he keep repeating that he did not mean to hurt someone? And why does this hold enough significance that Faulkner has 2-3 pages dedicated to Quentin’s thoughts?


  21. 1) Visual images seem to trigger Benjy’s memory, as he reflects on the past when he sees a concrete object. For example, when he approaches a barn, he thinks back to a previous time in his life: “Cry baby,” Luster said. “Ain’t you shamed. We went through the barn. The stalls were all open”. He then walks around the barn in present time after reflection. In relation to the past and the present, Italics are used to represent a previous moment in time.

    2) Benjy’s point of view seems to be scattered and random. This is like so because the Benjy section is narrated by him, and he himself has mental handicaps. When people and animals are in his surroundings, he tends to revert to thinking about his past. For example, when Lester brings him a birthday cake, he disparages Benjy, saying “Shut up that moaning, If you dont hush up, mammy ain’t going to have no birthday for you.” In turn, this incident triggers a memory of him and Caddy. I think Benjy was chosen as the first narrator because he presents a myriad of events in the Compson’s lives. Therefore, his purpose is to introduce the main characters.

    3) The concept of time is relevant to both characters, specifically their tendencies to dwell on the past. This is reminiscent of “The Waste Land” because both stories are heavily developed by the passage of time. Quentin’s chief preoccupations include the past and his sister Caddy. Similarly, Benjy focuses on the past as well, though his memories are more sporadic and less concise than Quentin’s. The relationship between past and present is more meaningful to Quentin, as it his way of escaping his troubled present. Benjy, on the other hand, is reminded of the past when he notices sensory images or objects in the present. When Quentin receives the watch from his father, he says “I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it”(48). This then becomes meaningful to Quentin, and ironically he proves to do the opposite of his father’s advice. The concept of time entraps him, and the past becomes an obsession. As he becomes more and more hysterical, the line between past and present gets blurred.

    4) The little Italian-American girl that follows Quentin appears to have trouble finding a way home. Quentin then attempts to help her, and suddenly when they reach the end of town her brother Julio thinks that Quentin is trying to kidnap her. He accuses him and says “You steala my seester”. The tragedy between him and Caddy is basically the fact that he wants to protect her from all boys, while she wants to stop being smothered by him. Quentin appears to hit Gerald because he is disgusted by the way he objectifies women, in particular the way he talks about the women he has had sex with.

    5) Pages 109-111 appear to be the author’s attempt at revealing Quentin’s mindstate through the syntax. There are few breaks in the text, and the effect makes it seem run-on. This is similar to the way he feels: as he struggles to cope with reality, his thoughts become incomplete and excessive. At this point in the story, Quentin’s thought process is similar to that of Benjy’s, in the sense that much of what they are thinking about appears random and nonsensical to the reader. He seems to reflect on the way he generally feels towards women, including his sister Caddy.

    6) I had trouble understanding a passage between pages 109-111. It reads, “you are not thinking of finitude you are contemplating an apotheosis in which a temporary state of mind will become symmetrical above the flesh and aware both of itself and of the flesh.”


    1. I noticed that Benjy’s memories are triggered by sense and sight such as seeing animals or nature like you said. I also thought he was picked the first narrator because his memories and word structure is very simple. He never goes into great detail on whats going on he just states a thin rim of what is happening.


      1. That’s a good point. Benjy sort-of serves as an introductory narrator, whom presents the basics for each of the story’s characters. I thought it was a good idea for the author to use basic vocabulary when Benjy was the narrator. Because of this, the reader is better equipped to understand the narrator himself and how he interacts with the world.


      2. I completely agree with kcstokes2…the structure and presentation of the narrator seem to fit well with his character. It is obvious that it is intentional and adds to the simplicity of Benjy. I think the fact that his thoughts are so trigger happy that he isn’t present long enough to go into great detail because everything distracts him and triggers other thoughts.


  22. Within The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner employs a narrative that parallels the natural human thought process. This is apparent in situations where characters in the novel experience a triggered memory. For instance, on page 33 the children are all together and Jason asks what a funeral is, Frony replies: “where they moans’ Frony said. ‘They moaned two days on Sis Beulah Clay.” In transition, the narrative suddenly becomes italicized stating “They moaned at Dilsey’s house. Dilsey was moaning. When Dilsey, moaned Luster said hush…” (pg. 33). The mention of ‘moaning’ in simple discourse amongst the characters triggers a regression to an earlier related occurrence involving moaning. This occurs organically and very similarly to how it would occur in reality. Within this passage it is clear that we can differentiate between the two situations because of the settings: they’re at T.P.’s house in real-time and at Dilsey’s in the past. But all the time we are experience a singular perspective and the evolution amongst thoughts within the character.

    Benjy’s point of view is discernable because of the voyeuristic nature of his narrative. Everything is an observance, and because of his stupidity the internalization and interpretation within the narrative is scarce and almost objective. “But when I tried to climb onto it it jumped away and hit me on the back of the head and my throat made a sound. It made the sound again and I stopped trying to get up. . .I couldn’t smell trees anymore and I began to cry” (pg. 40). He reverts back to his familiarity with constant mentioning of the scent of trees, but more importantly, with a simple innocence of a life that knows nothing different than peripheral existence. Benjy only observes and reacts to the creatures and surroundings around him. His entrapment in his disability disallows him from ever becoming fully immersed in his surroundings. Faulkner ascribed the introductory section of the novel to Benjy because he is representative of the awkward simplicity in which the South is generally perceived. He leads the narrative to uncover a more sophisticated and inclined line-up of characters that is subtly analogizable to the enriched mystery there is to be discovered in the southern states.

    Quentin has an obsession with his sister Caddy. It surpasses any reasonable attachment. He is unable to detach himself from his sister’s promiscuous episodes which then consume his reality. Sitting up in a room before class, Quentin looks down at his classmates as he thinks, “. . .and the day like a pane of glass struck a light, sharp blow, and my insides would move, sitting still. Moving sitting still. My bowels moved for thee. One minute she was standing in the door. Benjy. Bellowing. Benjamin the child of mine old age bellowing. Caddy! Caddy!” (pg. 88). Quentin’s thoughts are completely enshrouded by Dalton Ames impregnating his sister and disallowing him (Quentin) from taking care of his sister as he desires, according to Southern custom. Quentin shares feelings of despair reminiscent of The Waste Land; thoughts of helplessness solitude overwhelm him, ultimately. This is different than Benjy’s recollection of the past because Quentin does so with an attitude of regret. He is tortured by the past. I believe that Quentin pays close attention to time because he understands the brevity of it in relation to him. Seconds become meaningful and they all of the sudden matter – each of them.

    The little Italian-American girl is representative of the nurturing aspect he yearns for with Caddy. Her naivety and innocence are exponentiated by her size and inability to communicate: rendering her completely helpless. His emotional-self embraces for a brief time the emotional escape of caring for the girl. The emotional scarring from Caddy becoming pregnant by Dalton serves as the paramount catalyst for his mental state. This is apparent in his confrontation with Gerald, whom earlier described womanizing socially amongst peers. This is the retaliation of Quentin’s inner turmoil regarding virginity, sexuality and Caddy. Gerald serves as the symbol for all of the confusion and angst within Quentin when he lashes out, physically.

    In these long stretches of prose, Quentin is pondering the morality and contradiction of women and how their actions are maligned. This ceaseless discourse is the structural equivalent to a human mind fueled by emotion; it is the mental unraveling of a wound up emotional state. The way in which Quentin’s prose is laid out differs from Benjy because it is more sophisticated in its composition and subtext. Benjy describes things from a simplistic and objective point of view, free from analysis and criticism: simply just being there. Whereas Quentin is genuinely an individual conflicted to the degree in which he takes his own life to escape the torment. Faulkner creates an underlying parallel in the syntax used within each narrative, illustrating the flowing sensibility ascribed to the human thought process. He is masterful in his ability to exemplify each individual as being equal, yet completely different in terms of intellect and critical thinking.

    Page 105 is a section in which I have a tough time establishing the timeframes consistently.


  23. 1.
    Benjy, the narrator of the story, constantly has memories triggers by events or items that are surrounding him. Whenever he has a memory, it is printed in italics to differentiate between memories and what is actually happening at the time the story is being told. For example. Luster tells Benjy, “You snagged on that nail again. Can’t you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail” (Faulkner 4). After this, Benjy remembers a time Caddy helped him become untangled from being caught in a nail. In this, and in many more instances, Faulkner uses italics to show the difference between what is happening and what he is remembering.

    Benjy is mentally impaired and this could be both a blessing and a curse. In this case, it is a blessing because his disability allowed him to find everything more intriguing and be more inquisitive about every situation he is in. I believe Benjy is one of the most observant characters that I have ever come across in literature. A lot happens around him and all he does is take note of it and use it later on when something else happens that triggers a certain memory. Benjy doesn’t have much to say through the entire book. As a narrator, he only tells the story. I had trouble understanding the following sentence, but later understood that this is simply just some of the thoughts that speed through Benjy’s mind: “What are you moaning about, Luster said. You can watch them again when we get to the branch. Here. Here’s you a jimson weed. He gave me the flower. We went through the fence, into the lot” (Faulkner 30).

    The concept of time is very important to Quentin. He is obsessed with it. Some instances where he mentions it are: “The hour began to strike” (Faulkner 52) and again on the following page with “the watch ticked on” (Faulkner 53). Benjy and Quentin both think about the past way more than they should but they both approach their memories very differently. I believe Benjy’s are more innocent and observant while Quentin over thinks and overanalyzes every aspect of the thought. Quentin and The Waste Land are alike in the way that they both relate to despair and angst.

    The little Italian-American girl that follows Quentin reminds him of Caddy. She was lost and was trying to find her way home. Quentin then attempts to help her, but Julio, the brother, accuses Quentin of trying to kidnap his sister. The tragedy is that Quentin is way too obsessed with his sister while she is just trying to live her own life and avoid being smothered by him. Quentin is upset with Gerald because he doesn’t like the way he objectifies and treats women.

    In the passages that have no paragraphs breaks, Quentin is thinking about the conversation he and Caddy. This shows how caught up he gets with his internal thoughts and how he overanalyzes every little thought that comes into his mind. I believe this is different from Benjy’s because it overanalyzes one thing and is more of an episode whereas Benjy is very scatter-minded and thought like this come from everything that he encounters. Benjy tends to be less logical with the connections he is making while Quentin finds meaning in every thought that crosses his mind. An example of Quentin overanalyzing all of his thoughts is: “You pushed me it was your fault it hurt me too. We were dancing sitting down I bet Caddy cant dance sitting down. Stop that stop that. I was just brushing the trash off the back of your dress. You keep your nasty old hands off of me it was your fault you pushed me down I’m mad at you” (Faulkner 111). This shows that Quentin looked into this even far more than he should have, yet the idea is still connected to that event, not drifting off to something else.

    I really had a lot of trouble following Quentin’s thoughts through pages 109-111 since it was all part of one moment in someone’s mind that dragged on to three whole pages of text. It honestly made me feel a little crazy and made me feel like I was the one thinking those thoughts. I have had instances like that in the past so reading 3 pages worth of someone else’s thoughts was difficult for me.


    1. I agree that Quentin’s thoughts on pages 109-111 were difficult to follow and seemed to drag on. I feel like sometimes I struggle to get my own thoughts together so to read 3 pages of someone else’s thoughts was very challenging. Quentin is definitely too obsessed with Caddy and unfortunately his obsession strains their relationship. Quentin also obsesses over time more than what is healthy.


    2. Benji’s thoughts do seem a bit trigger happy. It is almost as if he is not completely focused or present because he is constantly evolved in his thoughts.


  24. 1) Memories are triggered by words, smells, and even familiar circumstances. In The Sound and the Fury, memories are shown in italics. The first memory readers are introduced to is when Benjy snagged his nail, by italics readers are taken back to the past when Benjy had first experienced a snagged nail. Although italics are used to show that it is a memory, italics are also used to what is occurring in the present as Benjy is stuck in the past. At first it was slightly challenging to figure out the difference in past and present, but it can be seen by the reader once they pay close attention.
    2) Benjy only pays attention to what interests him, very similar to a child. Benjy’s point of view goes back and forth from past and present. Nature seems to be Benjy’s favorite thing to observe, as he mentions flowers, trees, and “rattling leaves” (Faulkner, 4). Benjy even uses nature to describe people like when he sats “Caddy smelled like trees in the rain” (Faulkner, 13). By making Benjy the first narrator, Faulkner allows the readers to have an unbiased and honest glimpse of the Compson family. Benjy is like a child in the sense that he is very honest, simplistic, and unfiltered.
    3) Quentin’s attachment to his watch could be because it is a family heirloom, passed down from grandfather to father, but in reality it is a symbol of his obsession with time. Upon receipt of the watch Quentin was told by his father “I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it” (Faulkner 48) and regardless of the advice, Quentin still fixated on time. When he couldn’t see the watch he was thinking about what time it was, and is worried he will run out of it. Because of Quentin’s thought of running out of time, he shares concern of destruction with “The Waste Land’. Quentin is more articulated and descriptive than Benjy, where as Benjy is more childlike with his thoughts, very simple and random.
    4) The little Italian-American girl reminds Quentin of Caddy and what he wishes Caddy were still like. Caddy got pregnant out of wedlock by Dalton Ames and this was not acceptable in Quentin’s eyes. Quentin was jealous of Dalton’s attraction to Caddy and even slightly to blame for Caddy’s promiscuity. The anger of the brother that is directed at Quentin is a direct reflection of Quentin’s anger at Caddy. Caddy’s pregnancy causes a significant strain on her relationship with Quentin. Gerald gets hit because of how he speaks about women and considering Caddy’s situation, Quentin took offense and decided to hit him.
    5) In pages 109-111 Quentin jumps back and forth from past to present. “As soon as I turned off the light and tried to go to sleep it would begin to come into the room in waves building and building up until I would have to pant to get any air at all out of it until I would have to get up and feel my way like when I was a little boy” (Faulkner 110). Quentin is recalling his experience in the past while being active in the present. This form seems appropriate because it shows Quentin’s stream of consciousness. Benjy’s section was more challenging to decipher past and present, but was more simplistic and child like. Quentin clearly defines past and present and his thoughts are more articulate and complex.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s