Taka's Reviews > The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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Jun 18, 08

bookshelves: american_lit, modernist_lit, japan_jul07-aug11
Read in June, 2008

Good (w/ my favorite new villain!)--

My second Faulkner did not disappoint me or bore me out of my mind.

The story, at first utterly perplexing and inscrutable, gets clearer and clearer as it progresses. The first section tells the story from the mentally impaired Benjy, and is WILDLY experimental in portraying a mind living in constant impressions and associations as the scene switches back and forth between present and past, sometimes without warning. Once you get the hang of how Faulkner shifts time, the section becomes quite readable.

The second section narrated by Quentin has striking similarities with Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in representing a young, intellectual mind filled with tortured thoughts and indelible memories of the past wandering around and going through a rather ordinary day.

The last two sections are really easy to read and clarify a lot of things that went unsaid but implied in the first two sections.

Here, let me just add that Jason Compson - satisfyingly evil, refreshingly active, and almost beyond-good-and-evil - is one of those villains that you come to like and admire as a villain, belonging to the same class of awesome and fascinating villains as Barabas, Shylock, and Iago. And why is this? In direct contrast to his tortured Hamlet of a brother, he is the only person in the family that does ANYTHING and gets things done. In fact, his section is PACKED with actions. He's always doing something, running around getting things done, and to accomplish what he sets out to do, he does not scrupulously choose his means. His obsession with money goes beyond petty morality, and he gets what he wants. For that, you can't stop admiring him. Definitely an excellent villain. Love it!

The great thing about this novel is that you get to know all those characters intimately and identify with them. Maybe I'm in the minority to like Jason Compson the Awesome Villain who is inexplicably (and satisfyingly) cruel but who actually gets things done, and hate his effeminate and overly intellectual brother Quentin for his cowardice and grousing and inability to do jackshit. The point is that though the book is hard to get through especially in the beginning, it's a book that gets you acquainted with its diverse array of characters like they are actually alive.

Good stuff
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