Stephen's Reviews > The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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Oct 05, 11

bookshelves: audiobook, classics-americas, literature, easton-press, gothic, 1900-1929
Read from May 19 to 21, 2011 — I own a copy

A review paying homage to BENJY COMPSON'S uniquely disorienting narration:

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BENJY...narrator... lacks sense of time...merger of past and present merge...all the same...disorientation...1928...Easter... Mississippi...Compsons...aristocrat family...hard times... Benjy... mentally handicapped...33rd birthday...Luster...guardian... quarter lost... minstrel show...golf course... golf balls... memory cues... flashbacks... clothes... nail... sister... Caddy... CAAAAAADDDYY!.. 1902... flashback... argument...

[pause reading, WTF is going on here]

... affair... neighbor... Christmas Party... Mrs. Compson... moan... annoy...

[stop reading, pour stiff drink, drink, repeat]

... 1928... carriage house... cue... 1912... graveyard... Quentin... Dilsey... Jason... Uncle Maury... Benjy crying... 1928... barn... [stop reading, bang head against wall and re-read whole book up to this point]... 1902... secret lovers...
notes... pockets... interception... scared... Benjy... 1928...
stream... Benjy... flashback... 1898... funeral... Damuddy... Versh... wet dress... whipping... 1928... milking cow...

[stop reading... go to Wikipedia and read about book... EUREKA... now I get it]

... 1910... wedding... TP... “sassprilluh”... drunk... fight... Benjy... chaos... crying...1898... hill... playing... dinner... jason... snitch... Dilsey... Mrs. Compson... crying... Damuddy... 1928... financial problems... 1910... singing... Roskus... unlucky Compsons... 1912... TP... little Miss Quentin... daughter... illegitimate... Luster... dirt... Benjy... toy... crying... disgrace...
1928... golf ball... 1898... death... Versh... lightning bugs... Frony... funeral... Nancy... horse... buzzards... 1912... Mr. Compson... memory... death...1898... Damuddy... Benjy... buzzards... bones... tree... parlor window... soiled clothing... Benjy crying... 1910... drunken memory... 1905... perfume... CAAAAAADDDYY!... mocking... “prissy dress”... Jason... upset... Caddy smells like trees... 1898... spying... Caddy... scolding...
1928... stream... swing... Miss Quentin... red tie... flashback... Charlie... Caddy... suitor... kissing... Benjy... crying... soap... 1928... swing... red tie and Miss Quentin... upset... used condom... SLUT... red tie... Luster... schoolgirls... 1910... girls... Benjy... screams... attack... no harm meant...
Mr. Compson... castration... 1928... golfball... sell... caddie... caddie?... CAAAAAADDDYY!... flower... taunting... insane asylum... Dilsey... Luster... teasing... flashback... fire... name change... Maury to Benjy... birthday cake... Mrs. Compson... uncaring... self-indulgent... wailing... self-pity... ill... annoying Bitch... library... 1900... Caddy... library... comfort... cushion... Jason... asshole... paper dolls... malicious... 1928... quarter... borrow... minstrel show... disdain... Jason... Miss Quentin... red tie... supper... 1909... virginity... Benjy... crying... shame... upset... crying... 1928... dinner... Miss Quentin... Jason... scold... argument... Benjy in past... empty room... Miss Quentin... window... 1898... soiled underwear... Benjy... muddy...1928... Benjy... sleep... QUENTIN... narrator... Harvard... watch ticking... time theme... gift... father... St Francis... death... “Little Sister”... memory...

[oh shit, not the flashbacks again]

... Caddy... wedding announcement... Shreve... class bell... Spoade... senior... big asshole... virginity... Caddy... confession... incest...

[Wait, wait, WAAAAAIT, what was that about incest?]

... lie

[whew, okay go on]

...Dalton Ames... father... nihilist... life is meaningless...

[cheery guy ain’t he]

... breaks glass... finger cut...blood... tick tock... tick tock... bath... two notes... father... post office... note to Shreve... Deacon... nowhere... clock shop... time... don’t fix... tailor weights... train... time... wrong... Benjy... Maury... bridge... thoughts... drowning... Gerald Bland... student... river... painful memories... Caddy... slut... Herbert... bank job... Jason... Deacon... Shreve... Quentin... trolley...
memory... fight with Herbert... jealous... devastated... sad... miserable... CAAAAAADDDYY!... Mr. Compson... uncaring... “virginity is meaningless concept”... Quentin... sad... bridge... Herbert... cheater... “blackguard”... Quentin... Italian girl... bakery... Julio... accusation... constable... fines... released... Gerald Bland... bragging... Quentin... memory... Caddy... Dalton Ames... suicide pact?... incest... lie... run away... confrontation... fight... depressed... memory... father... uncaring... Quentin... jealous, lonely, sad, rage... JASON... narrator... “Once a Bitch, Always a Bitch”... 1928... asshole... thief... patriarch... fighting mother... raising Miss Quentin... Caddy... divorced... affair... child... lost job... Jason... bitter... farm supplies... anger... stealing money... mean-spirited... devious... cotton market and prostitutes... Miss Quentin... rebellious... stubborn... work... receives 4 letters... father’s funeral... scheme...
bully... $10... Mrs. Compson... miserable bitch... Jason... embarrassed... Benjy... red tie... Earl... accusation...
stock loss... Jason... furious... car chase... flat tires... home... Luster... tickets... minstrel show...
Jason...

[What an asshole this guy is]

... NARRATOR AUTHOR... Easter Sunday... 1928...
Benjy eating... Jason angry... window broken... Miss Quentin nowhere... Dilsey comforts... Mrs. Compson bitches... strongbox... forced... crime... police... Reverend Shegog... sermon... Jason... sheriff... suspicious... Jason... searches... Miss Quentin...
Jason... mistress Lorraine... Jason... rude... old man don’t play... hatchet... Benjy... carriage... new route... scared... scream... change frightens... Jason... beating... familar... Benjy... quiet... THE END.

BENJY = Awesome
QUENTIN = Weak
JASON = Major Assholio
CADDY = Tragic Hero
MISS QUENTIN = Rebellious/Low Self Esteem
MRS. COMPSON = Somebody please shoot the BITCH
MR. COMPSON = Life sucks and then you die...SO DIE ALREADY!!.

WILLIAM FAULKNER = Maaaaaaaad genius
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Quotes Stephen Liked

William Faulkner
“Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury


Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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Stephen M Oh, Faulkner. I remember throwing this book across the room on several instances. Then I started to see how everything was coming together. After two or three reads, I think it's kind of genius.


Terence I taught this to 11th and 12th graders (when I was teaching a decade ago).

I was surprised at how well most of them seemed to enjoy it.


Stephen Stephen wrote: "Oh, Faulkner. I remember throwing this book across the room on several instances. Then I started to see how everything was coming together. After two or three reads, I think it's kind of genius."

By the end, I really enjoyed it as well. This is definitely a book that requires multiple readings.


Stephen Terence wrote: "I taught this to 11th and 12th graders (when I was teaching a decade ago).

I was surprised at how well most of them seemed to enjoy it."


I think if you simply absorb the prose (which is excellent) and don't struggle too hard to try to find the deeper meaning, you can just enjoy it for its elegance. I think it would have been a tough read for me back in high school. However, having just finished it, I think Faulkner really accomplished something unique and special.


Terence Stephen wrote: "I think if you simply absorb the prose (wh..."

Of course, I had them doing some make work things because I had to teach to the "standards" but most of the sessions in-class were us reading and discussing the book.

No pressure. No quizzes the next day. And we really had some good discussions.

The same thing happened when I taught Hemingway's In Our Time. No pressure to regurgitate anything and the stories really brought out some amazing insights from the kids.


message 6: by Lori (Hellian) (new)

Lori (Hellian) Terence, that's exactly what happened to me in high school except I read Light in August which I thought was genius. I have always wanted to read this again, but I never get to rereads because there's so many other books I've never read! I got a great copy of Sound and Fury, and I MUST get to it!

Stephen, I really responded to Faulkner in HS because it's all heart. And since teens are such idealists, well especially for me since I grew up in the 60s (say are teens still idealists?) the injustices and evil presented touched my heart.


Stephen Brian wrote: "Hahahaaaaaa! Review... clever... fun to read... good reflection... reading experience... confusion... (flashback to when I read this book: WTF is going on???)... feeling of Old South.... Caddy- hot..."

Thanks, Brian. I actually moved this book up on my TBR list after your great review. When I got the idea for this one, I was hoping it would take people that had read it down memory lane so to speak.


Stephen Lori wrote: "Terence, that's exactly what happened to me in high school except I read Light in August which I thought was genius. I have always wanted to read this again, but I never get to rereads because ther..."

Lori, I agree. Faulkner's prose is full of emotion.


message 9: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Hi Stephen do you think it would be good to read chapter or two then listen audiobook I have over the same chapters again as I go through the book. I saw in one review this.......
" The first chapter is what puts people off this classic. Here is a simple way to understand that chapter. By followong who is caring for Benji you will know when things are taking place. It becomes a very easy chapter to read once you get used to this.

Versh - 1900-ish when Benji is 3-5
T.P. 1905-1912 when Benji is 15-ish
Luster - Present when Benji is 33.

Each time italics are incorporated Benji is changing his train of thought."

Is that needed to know before I read


Stephen Lou -

First, let me say that I think the advice of the italics and identifying Benjy's caregiver is excellent...(i.e.,
"Versh - 1900-ish when Benji is 3-5
T.P. 1905-1912 when Benji is 15-ish
Luster - Present when Benji is 33.

Each time italics are incorporated Benji is changing his train of thought."


The first chapter is one of the most difficult chapters to navigate that I have come across, but once you can follow it is brilliant. With the audiobook (which was amazing by the way), I think it is very helpful to follow the "print" version for the first chapter (so you can see the italics). From there, the rest of the book can be absorbed via audio alone with little trouble.

Hope this helps.


message 11: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Ok thanks i will keep that in mind.


message 12: by mark (last edited May 23, 2011 12:58PM) (new)

mark monday great novel and a very enjoyable review stephen! such a clever style in this review.

did it take you a long time or a short time to write this?


Stephen It took a while because I was hoping that the word clues would ring true to those who had read it without necessarily spoiling it for those that hadn't read it.


message 15: by mark (new)

mark monday well you did a very good job! i felt the novel coming back to me so strongly when reading this. i've read this one twice (i love faulkner) but the last time was over a decade ago.


Stephen mark wrote: "well you did a very good job! i felt the novel coming back to me so strongly when reading this. i've read this one twice (i love faulkner) but the last time was over a decade ago."

That's what I was hoping for. Thanks, Mark.


Larry Bassett I am a northerner transplanted into the south and am trying out some of the literature of southern authors. Hard to believe as a 64 yr old English major I have never read Faulkner. Reading some of these reviews makes me wonder if I ever will. Maybe I will read your review, Stephen, and leave it at that. Did the fact that you (evidently) listened to it as an audio book make a difference?


Stephen Larry -

I think listening to the audio version, which was excellent, is much more difficult in the first section dealing with Benjy because of the use of italics and other devices to let the reader know the time period is changing. I had the book with me and followed along while listening to the audio book during the Benjy section. Beyond that, I think that the audio version enhanced the experience of the book.

Hope this helps.


Larry Bassett To add to the list of things I have never done: never listened to an audio book. This might be a good place to start. I have read reviewers say they really had to clear their mind and focus on the book to get it. I have a hard time doing that, am pretty distractable, with lots of noise in my head. Maybe the audio book will combat that. (I'll have to try it with Virginia Woolf too.) Or maybe I will just tune out and the book will play on without me! Thanks for the idea, Stephen.


message 20: by Lea (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lea I enjoyed your review far more than I enjoyed the book, but I may have to give it another try now. You know, since YOU liked it. I mean, you did actually persuade me to buy Columbine. I do draw the line at Jane Austen, though -- no way am I following you there.


Stephen Thanks, Lea. This was a very, VERY difficult book for me to get into, but once I connected with the Benjy narrative, I was really impressed.

I hope you like Columbine (I think you will). I'll leave a light on down the Jane Austen road if you ever change your mind.


s.penkevich HA! I'm now writing that caption on every poster of this I see.


Stephen s.penkevich wrote: "HA! I'm now writing that caption on every poster of this I see."

Thanks, it just seemed to fit perfectly at the time. I'm glad you liked it.


s.penkevich I had a good laugh. I have a buddy who once owned an old beat-up Cadillac and he always had a pine tree air freshener just so he could say his "caddy smells like trees".


message 25: by Gwen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gwen This is a pretty accurate description of my experience with this book. I could not have done a better simulation. XD


Stephen Gwen wrote: "This is a pretty accurate description of my experience with this book. I could not have done a better simulation. XD"

Thanks, Gwen. I'm glad you liked it.


message 27: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) Exactly how I felt the first time I read it.


Stephen Lavender wrote: "Exactly how I felt the first time I read it."

Thanks, Lavender. It will be interesting to revisit this at some point and see how it reads a second time around.


Lucia Thanks for the reviews, I started this book for second time (few years in between) and I am in the WTF stage again, but your review and coments encouraged me. I'll keep walking!


Stephen My pleasure, Lucia. The first section takes some real perseverance to get through but I do believe it is worth it.


Annesha I feel injured that you called Quentin weak. I know that it's my emotional attachment to the character getting the better of me but...weakness would be what Mr.Compson is. Any one who feels as much, who experiences such utter depth of emotion as Quentin did, can't be weak in my book.


Patrick that about sums it up!


Kalee Melton Haha.. I love your review! I just finished the first chapter, thought I was going crazy. I just came on here to see if its worth crazy. I guess I'll keep chugging along.


message 34: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Cronin Best review I've read! I went through the exact reading process! Think I've read it through fully 3 times back and forth over the past month.. Exhausting but worth it :)


Brian I wholeheartedly love this review! Although, if I may ask, why only 4 stars?


Margaret you put into words how I felt while reading this book.....it is a mad, mad, mad world of William faulkner's mind.


Shadowphoenixfire This review is brilliant. I laughed so hard. And you've made me actually want to read this, lol. :)


Jowayria Rahal This is one of the most brilliant reviews I've ever read ! you make me so wanna read it ! thanks
<3


Jowayria Rahal Brilliant !


Ala'a  Muhammad I can't think of a better review for this great novel ! Just awesome.


Nancy Mills I read this book many years ago, and went to the college library and checked out books to help me understand it. I am re-reading it now and it is coming together better. Jumping from one time period to another in Benjy's jumbled (but fascinating) narration is confusing, as is his referring to Quentin as "he" and then "she." The first time around I thought it was a case of gender confusion in a neurotic person.
Mr. Faulkner doesn't give a fig whether his reader understands his work, and doesn't do a thing to make himself comprehensible. This can also be evidenced by the 17 page sentence in "The Bear." There ought to be a law.
Nevertheless, for some reason he is my favorite author and I adore his work. Call me a masochist.


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