Stephen's Reviews > The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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's review
Jan 04, 2012

it was ok

Yes. Yes. I know. This is a masterpiece, a much beloved Modernist novel, prized for its complexity, its alienated characters, a dying Old South, a dying old southern family, dying, dying, lust, incest, squandered fortune, madness, a showcase for, “the overwrought mind caught in the act of thought,” i.e. Freud's free-flowing, one-thing-leads-to-another free association, in this case, the interior voices of the three Compson brothers: Benjy, Quentin and Jason. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Yes. Overwrought. Thinking. Born into a dying family. Did I already say that?

The thing about these flow of consciousness narratives is that I pick up a book to settle my own mind and ease my own internal flow of consciousness, to jump from my own flow into someone else’s flow is like escaping one tornado to run back into another. I might as well stay in my own dying old southern family flow of consciousness.

I’m not unsympathetic, not rigid in my thinking. I really like cubism, when the artist attempts to paint a three-dimensional world in two-dimensions, from several points of view, and futurism: rendering a scene from several points of time. It’s very similar. Complex. And it’s wonderful.

I’ve never actually made it all the way through “The Sound and the Fury” despite repeated attempts, although I have read the first third at least three times, all the way through Benjy and stranded in Quentin's free-flowing thoughts. Does that count for something? Perhaps I’ll pick it up again sometime and give it another go, perhaps I'll even change my mind about it. Perhaps. Art does not change, only the perceptions of the audience trying to interpret it. Perhaps my brain is not fully matured. Perhaps I’ll go to the refrigerator to get a drink. Perhaps I’ll mow the lawn, does anyone remember Captain Kangaroo? Should I pay my electric bill tomorrow or wait another day? I remember third grade: I sure liked Mrs. Manley, she was a great teacher. She had the loudest whistle. Why do dogs smile so much? Are they happy about being domesticated? Or is it just a front? Do they secretly loath us? I once was married to someone named Candy. What was I thinking? Her father named her after Candace from this book. What was he thinking? And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! I like smooth peanut butter better than crunchy. I wonder why? My foot hurts. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Did I just hear a dog bark? Barking. Barking. Barking. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing. The sunlight is pretty on the leaves. Yes. Pretty. Lush, like lettuce. Did I ever get that drink of water?

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