Saturday, October 21, 2006

MAILÉN B., On Faulkner's 'The Sound and the Fury'

Essay on The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
Why doesn’t Caddy have a voice?

The book is divided in four parts and each one is told by a different person: the first one, is narrated by Benjy; the second one, by Quentin; the third one by Jason and the fourth one by, we can speculate, Dilsey. Bejny, Quentin and Jason are brothers, Dilsey is their family slave (and a women).
In the first three parts, that are the longest and more important ones, Caddy appears almost all of the time: her issues, her personality, her virginity, her sexuality, her role in the family. Each brother feels different things about Caddy, and their relationship with her is also different. Benjy and Caddy had a strong relationship because she was very close to him and took care of him constantly (before she run away, of course), her role in this case is a protective one, she was like the mother Benjy didn’t have. Benjy had very strong feelings towards Caddy, although he was an idiot, and he doesn’t think clearly, he loves Caddy and we can also see that because he didn’t like her being with another boy, kissing him, and it was worse when she losses her virginity. When he sees her with Charlie: “The one in the swing got up and came, and I cried and pulled Caddy’s dressed” Benjy’s part is mostly dedicated to Caddy, he is constantly remembering situations where she is, this shows the important role Caddy has in Benjy’s life.
Quentin is also obsessed with Caddy, but at a different level and in a different way that Benjy is. Quentin is extremely organized and traditional and he can’t bear the fact that Caddy losses her virginity before marriage, this is a thing that chases him through the entire novel and narration. Both of them (Quentin and Benjy) remember the day that Caddy stop being a virgin, of course each one with different reactions and points of view. Quentin couldn’t stand the fact that Caddy slept with a man before marriage and got pregnant so he preferred to tell his father that he had committed incest. His relationship with Caddy was very close, but less than Benjy, they were almost equals (almost because he was amused by her). They shared things like brothers do but when that lead to the point that he saw the man that kissed her and took her virginity he couldn’t stand it, he wanted to killed him. When she appears like a sexual person (before she’s even married) he cannot bear it. Along to other problems, Caddy’s lack of tradition is what lead him to suicide.
Jason hates Caddy, he thinks she is a bitch. She hates her for leaving, but not because he had ever loved her, because he is more selfish than the other brothers. Caddy’s husband had promised him a job, and since she split out with him now he has to find other ways of supporting the family (at least, what is left). Jason hates Caddy for leaving, for breaking the tradition, and makes her guilty of the family break. Such as their mother didn’t care about Caddy and Caddy didn’t worried much about her mother (and the opposite thing happened with her father) Jason, who is very close to her mother (or at least her mother is very close to him), only hates Caddy. And that anger remains among the years.
Caddy’s sexuality is a main theme in all of the book, it is, in a great part, what destroys her family. Caddy itself is a character that appears a lot in the story narrative, maybe because of that reason, to give Caddy a voice will ruin all the constructions made of her, showing the “real” Caddy the other Caddy’s (Benjy’s, Quentin’s and Jason’s) loose credibility or strength.

by Mailén B. (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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good point.