Saturday, October 21, 2006

SEBASTIÁN W., On Faulkner's 'The Sound and the Fury'

Essay on “The Sound and the Fury”

The greatness of this book lies not only in the precise construction of the story and the admirable use of language; the original and sometimes confusing style implies a hard work of concentration from the reader, who penetrates so deeply in the text that can finally understand the feelings of all characters. The construction process of each one of them shows us a complete human being perspective, in all its angles. Even a despiteful character as Jason, the youngest of the children, can be seen as a lonely person who has an enormous responsibility: taking care of a family which is abruptly decaying.
Most of the characters are from the same family, so it is evident that they all have a direct relationship. However, the story focuses on some of them. Benjy, Quentin and Jason are the ones the author chooses to tell us this story, all through their personal feelings (we will leave aside the last chapter for a later comment). We can say Caddy is one of the most relevant characters, because of the influence she has on her brothers. She represents the lost motherly figure; they seem to be obsessed with her. Due to this attraction she becomes a nucleus around which the action spins. The reflections of her brothers, any reflection, often end in her. So a question that comes from the reading of this book is: why doesn’t Caddy have a voice, if she is so important for the story? Why doesn’t she have her own chapter? Wouldn’t it have made the story clearer?
The first answer that comes to our mind is that this omission is a narrative effect which makes the story more interesting. There is no doubt about this; it makes it much more ambiguous and suggestive. But this seems to be only a secondary effect, as we realize that in fact there is a Caddy´s chapter. The difference is that it is not formally written but it is fragmented among all the other chapters. Caddy has a voice, a voice that is spoken from Benjy, from Quentin, from Jason (although he hates her). Her voice is in her acts. As she is mentioned in all chapters we get to know a lot of things about her and her brothers seem to understand and reflect her feelings and moods. The last chapter gives us some more information about all other chapters so we can make an almost complete image of Caddy´s situation. It was not necessary for the author to write Caddy´s chapter as it is fragmented in the book. Caddy´s voice is heard in descriptions made by her brothers, in their feelings, in dialogues, in italic flashbacks, she is everywhere in the book; maybe because, whether they want it or not, she meant everything to them.

by Sebastián W.(FCE level)
The texts published here have been written by secondary school students from "Colegio Paideia" (Buenos Aires, Argentina). They have been uploaded without the teacher's corrections.

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