Literaturealatte (Jalyn) asked:
I tried to read this book a year ago and only made it through the first part of the book. I found it confusing and actually had to get Cliff notes and still misunderstood what was going on. I put the book to the side to pick up later. I loved his short story "A Rose for Emily" though. What do you think of it?
Christa The first part is really confusing, even with cliffnotes. However, I suggest you keep going. The beginning is definitely the most confusing part since its from Benjy's perspective and due to his mental disabilities he cannot separate past from present. (Time itself ends up being used as a motif.) Events that happened when he and Jason, Quentin and Caddy were younger sit side by side with the current events that are actually happening (his 33rd birthday). If you continue on it gets easier. Jason's chapter is from his viewpoint but it gives the reader a clearer perspective because the novel switches from a stream of consciousness to a third party narrator. Then the last chapter is from a 3rd person perspective which finally gives the reader a solid grasp on the events of the story. It was a struggle for me to get through but Faulkner definitely has a unique writing style unlike anyone else and his talent is worth appreciating.
Frank Booth I was frustrated by Faulkner's books as a college student, but read many of his books later in life and fell in love with them. Sound and the Fury is one of the ten greatest American novels ever written in my opinion and, as a southerner, I consider Faulkner to be the greatest author of our region. I also recommend starting with some of Faulkner's short stories to get accustomed to his style of writing.
Pat Turman I found it very confusing also. I slogged my way through to the end, like the good reader I am, but it didn't get much better. I can appreciate Faulkner's style of prose for how brilliant it is, but I wish he would have chosen to tell this story in a more straight forward manner. If I was recommending a Faulkner novel to a first-time reader of his, it would be A Light in August. It's one of my 10 favorite novels and is a lot more accessible.
Renee There is a Norton Critical edition that you must get in order to read this book. If you read the Appendix, written by Faulkner at the urging of his friend, it explains what you need to know before starting the first chapter.
Frankie I would gladly try some short stories by him. I put the book aside for later in life as well tho
Karen I loved A Rose For Emily also, see my review, where I posted one of Faulkners greatest and profound metaphors which is in that story. Please read TSATF again, read a lot about if first- it truly is great and worth the work involved.
Catherine I've been re-reading Faulkner and really enjoying it, but I am aware that I missed a lot when I first read it in a college seminar years ago. For those of you who are having trouble, I honestly recommend sticking with it. Embrace the confusion, so to speak, because it is ok to not really "get" every single sentence.
Carissa Glad I'm not the only one who found the first part so fragmented. I too couldn't get past it and am returning it to the library today. Maybe another time....
Edavidberg I thought this was an amazing novel. It was so painful to see all of the abuse and pain heaped onto the Compson children. These are some of the most haunting characters in American Literature. I'm going to have to read something more positive next, although I choose to believe that Caddy's daughter Quentin was able to escape to freedom and a life of happiness.
Fred The whole "story told from several characters" device used in "Sound" and in "As I Lay Dying", for me, is a much better writing exercise than a reading exercise. I can appreciate the accomplishment in purely artistic terms. And I do not demand a passive reading experience where I am allowed to put my mind on idle as I turn pages. But I much prefer the straight-forward story-telling of Faulkner's Sanctuary. I'll give "Rose" a try!
Mark Stattelman Truly, very, very confusing. Just keep plugging away. Great book. Regarding A Rose for Emily though: It is a good story and in just about every anthology of American Lit. But it also turns up classified as a horror story a lot of times. I don't get it. I get the story, and enjoyed it, just not the classification as horror.
John Cheeseman I'm also struggling and am about half way through. I'm hoping it improves soon but will persevere. I think part of the problem is the dialogue keeps flicking from the past to the present and different characters.