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Faulkner's Style 
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Post Faulkner's Style
Faulkner has a distinct style in the book, obviously. Stream of consciousness is the term most often used to describe what he does to remove himself from the narrative. But I was noticing that in one way his writing is also more like a film script than a conventional novel. He just tells us what the characters do and say; he doesn't tell us how they say what they say. I couldn't find an instance where he says something like, "he said with a half smile," or "she stammered," or something similar. He lets us picture that kind of thing for ourselves, and I think it works and nothing is really lost. A film script I think is the same--the actor would not be given very much information by the writer how to say what he or she will say. Well, maybe there would be an occasional "astonished" in parens, but that might be about all. Faulkner did, of course, write for the movies, generally hating the work but just wanting the money. He wrote The Sound and Fury before he went to Hollywood, though.

Does Faulkner's "style by omission" strike you as valid at all? What else would you guys have to say about the style?


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Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:32 am
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Post Re: Faulkner's Style
I think Faulkner's style is a deliberate attempt to capture on the page how it is to experence moment to moment life -- as in thoughts and impressions do not always reflect reality accurately. Life is all at once and we never have all the available information. Consiquently, our understanding of any event or experience is limited and from our own biase, self-interested perspective. As I am writting this I am really thinking more about As I lay dying, rather than S & F.

note: please for give misspellings -- I am experiencing computer problems.


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Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:50 pm
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Post Re: Faulkner's Style
Wouldn't that be funny, Faulkner wrote "Sound" for Hollywood, but made it so difficult a decent movie could not be made of it. Unless he wrote it himself of course.

You certainly bring up something that has caused me problems, the "ommisions". Many events in the book are described only from the thoughts of the characters. For example, Benjy's castration, the reader is only made aware of this when Jason calls him a gelding. And Benjy's name change, it is so subtle. Also, Jason makes the offhanded remark, "Quentin liked to go swimming, even though he can't swim". How is that for vague?

I have read the first three sections two times. I have yet to get to the fourth section. I read that the fourth section, even though narrated by Dilsey, is actually Faulkner talking. It's time for me to get to that section, maybe things will become more clear? The dynamics of the Compson family are so powerful, and the characters and events are so strong. Why do I feel I could read this book ten times, and still miss some of the important events?

I also read about the symbolism of Quentin's watch. Apparently the watch breaks, and time stops for him. Time in the sense of everyday, normal living. He starts to think in a dream like state where time does not exist. He tries to get it fixed, but it cannot be fixed. Quentin has become my favorite character.



Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:26 am
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Post Re: Faulkner's Style
Good point, Suzanne, about the significant things Faulkner omits. It goes beyond what I had talked about. An example from a different book, As I Lay Dying, is Faulkner's failure to even mention what would seem to the event the whole book was leading up to--the burial of Mrs. Bundren. Faulkner doesn't even show the family brushing the dirt off their hands! It creates an anticlimax, but this was probably deliberate on Faulkner's part. It's peculiar, but I guess it goes along, in a way, with Faulkner's wish to take himself out of the mix, to not be the director of the story and the one who tells us what it means.

I've read the first two sections twice. There are still passages that are a question mark for me, but I don't mind. You'll find that Dilsey's section is told perfectly straight up.


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Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:46 pm
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Post Re: Faulkner's Style
The first time I read this one I had a feeling I was reading something special. I had a hard time getting a handle on it but, as I read, things started to clear a little and I realised how Faulkner was doing this.

Reading the book for a second time, knowing now what's going on and what the first section actually is, only accentuates Faulkners fearlessness in writing it. A true artist indeed. He knows exactly what he wants to say and says it. It's up to us to figure it out.
:)



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