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The Sound and the Fury, section 4, April 8, 1928 
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Post Re: The Sound and the Fury, section 4, April 8, 1928
So I have finished the 2nd reading of the book. It is a really good, very complex book. I still do not totally know why they were going to the graveyard but it does sound like they do it every Sunday. So I am assuming that they go to see their loved ones who have passed on. There are a lot of characters who die in the book.
I really like Dilsey. She is an incredibly strong person. I was kind of wondering what it was at the end that horrified Benji. Was Jason running at them in an aggressive manner? The last part was a little bit confusing although I think I know why Jason becomes so violent at the end. He is a typical abuser losing control of his niece. So he takes it out of the remaining members of the family. This second reading really made me dislike Jason. The first time I was not entirely sure of where I stood because things were not entirely clear to me. The 2nd read through was much clearer.

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I think that is a great answer. Seen in that light, I'm glad Faulkner didn't give Caddy her own platform. It would have been quite a risk or even a letdown, maybe. What if Caddy couldn't be made interesting in herself? What if she seemed too close to Quentin's habit of thought provide the contrast between the sections that Faulkner was looking for? You're right, since she is already the catalyst (the cadalyst!), then giving her a voice might have seemed like monopolization of the novel. I saw a mention of a comment Faulkner made that he wanted Caddy to be illusive, that he thought she was more beautiful that way. No doubt he had his reasons, and they probably were good ones.


I am also thinking that while Caddy in some ways is a catalyst, it is also not about Caddy. It is about the individual family members in her life who are terrified of her sexuality and react to that fear. I am not entirely sure what the fear of her sexuality is, although I know this is written in the early part of the 20th century about the south. I am not sure what Faulkner is saying about it though. Perhaps that Caddy is just an image? She is not entirely human to the people in her life, she is a creation of the people around her. Therefore, it would be pointless to give her a voice because maybe that is the point. But why would he saying that she is more beautiful by being elusive? Hmmmm.
I am also wonder about race in the novel as well. DWill also asked this question. This line hit me on page 86: “That was when I realized that a nigger is not a person so much as a form of behavior; a sort of obverse reflection of the white people he lives among.” Maybe Faulker is saying that groups of people are creations by the powerful around them? Of course, Benji has very little power in his world and he has a voice in the novel. The only people who tell their stories are the male characters of the Compson family.



Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:56 am
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Post Re: The Sound and the Fury, section 4, April 8, 1928
I've wondered about how Faukner manages to move forward with some sort of plot in this novel. I think he does manage progression, but that seems to be in spite of his characters and their interaction. His characters seem to flicker on a strange and poorly described stage, briefly, and then they merge into the past or into each other so their identity and their time and place become unclear. They seem to be in dream-states, or perhaps nightmare states, at times. It may be best to read this book while not fully awake and so not apply strict, fully-conscious rules of order that we normally apply when awake. This is also a great book about (north) America, juxtaposing kindness and deep humanity next to xenophobia, fear and confusion.



Last edited by giselle on Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:26 pm
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Post Re: The Sound and the Fury, section 4, April 8, 1928
seespotrun2008 wrote:

I really like Dilsey. She is an incredibly strong person.

She takes Benji to church with her and thinks nothing of it. Faulkner was showing us how much ahead of the degenerate Compson family Dilsey was, though she is not that far removed from slavery.
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I was kind of wondering what it was at the end that horrified Benji. Was Jason running at them in an aggressive manner?

I think the reason was that Dilsey tells her son to go exactly the same way as always, but of course he doesn't. Benji is like an autist, becomes upset when the routine is varied.
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He is a typical abuser losing control of his niece. So he takes it out of the remaining members of the family. This second reading really made me dislike Jason. The first time I was not entirely sure of where I stood because things were not entirely clear to me. The 2nd read through was much clearer.

True about Jason's thorough badness. Would you know what I mean and would it sound insenstive for me to say he also an entertaining character? I mean as a literary creation he is a piece of work. There is no ambiguity about him, which is Faulkner's intention.
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It is about the individual family members in her life who are terrified of her sexuality and react to that fear. I am not entirely sure what the fear of her sexuality is, although I know this is written in the early part of the 20th century about the south.

I think you're right that we need to see Caddy's behavior in that social context. Such behavior wouldn't be scandalous enough in our time to make the characters' reactions to her believable. Of course the exception to this is Jason Compson II, the father who couldn't care less about his daughter's virginity. But to mother, Quentin and Benji the matter is of the utmost seriousness.
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Perhaps that Caddy is just an image? She is not entirely human to the people in her life, she is a creation of the people around her. Therefore, it would be pointless to give her a voice because maybe that is the point. But why would he saying that she is more beautiful by being elusive? Hmmmm.

That's a good point about what the characters create out of Caddy. Faulkner's remark about the beauty of illusiveness? I don't know about it; he seemed a bit in love with her himself. He also maybe didn't want to spoil the true aura she has by making her exist on a mundane level, as she would have if she'd spoken a part. And Faulkner might have been aware that variation is a key to art. So in short I have no real idea.
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I am also wonder about race in the novel as well. DWill also asked this question. This line hit me on page 86: “That was when I realized that a nigger is not a person so much as a form of behavior; a sort of obverse reflection of the white people he lives among.” Maybe Faulker is saying that groups of people are creations by the powerful around them? Of course, Benji has very little power in his world and he has a voice in the novel. The only people who tell their stories are the male characters of the Compson family.

Faulkner supposedly was quite a liberal when it came to race, and that seems to be true in the novel if you look at the superiority he accords to Dilsey. I agree with your guess about what Quentin may mean about a "nigger being a form of behavior." I am far from an expert on Faulkner. Do you know of any black main characters in his works, I mean other than Dilsey? The character of Christmas in Light in August is reputed to be "black", but if so he has passed as white all his life.


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Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:41 pm
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