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The Sound and the Fury
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The Sound and the Fury - discussion

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message 1: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
Welcome to Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, home of many of Faulkner's characters. We'll be exploring the Compson clan.


message 2: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
The differences and similarities between Benjy's and Quentin's concepts of time in the first two chapters. Go!

Smack dab in the middle of Quentin's section now. I honestly didn't remember quite this much casual racism...in fact, I remember liking Quentin on the whole far more than I do now.


message 3: by Jeppe (new)

Jeppe (jmulich) | 315 comments Was walking around Harajuku, Tokyo when I came across this store/bar and it reminded me of you guys: http://instagram.com/p/ne6IafyAhp/


message 4: by Jason, Walking Allergen (last edited May 03, 2014 11:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Jeppe wrote: "Was walking around Harajuku, Tokyo when I came across this store/bar and it reminded me of you guys: http://instagram.com/p/ne6IafyAhp/"

Because of Faulkner, or because we're angry and don't shower regularly?

That is an awesome name for a bar. When I walked in, I would expect to see Shane McGowan breaking a bottle over someone's head.


message 5: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
I finally decided to look up jimson weed, curious about its etymology and any interesting facts about it that might reflect on Faulkner picking this as the plant Benjy carries:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_s...


message 6: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt hatred and resentment toward my co-hosts, Dave Alluisi in particular, for making me read about fucking Jason fucking Compson, the fictional character who makes me want to vomit at the sound of my own name, for the second time in my life, which is at least once too many.


message 7: by Jason, Walking Allergen (last edited May 22, 2014 03:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Matt wrote: "I finally decided to look up jimson weed, curious about its etymology and any interesting facts about it that might reflect on Faulkner picking this as the plant Benjy carries:
http://en.wikipedia...."


I thought it had to do with the sexual connotations myself until I discovered some heretofore missing correspondence of Faulkner's in which he reveals that his choice of "Jim-son" weed was a hidden reference to the infidelity of Caroline Compson with Jim Pott, a dim handyman. The product of their illicit lust was, of course, God's punishment upon her in the form of the man-child, Benjy.

When reached for comment on these allegations, Caroline wailed, "I'm such a burden on you all. I'll be gone soon! I'll be gone!" Everyone rolled their eyes indulgently, except for Jason Compson, who reminded his mother than she was a slut, but assured her that "he reckoned he could stand to have a whore for a mother if she could stand to be one."


message 8: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt hatred and resentment toward my co-hosts, Dave Alluisi in particular, for making me read about fucking Jason fucking Compson, the ficti..."

When asked whether Jason Compson was a bastard some years later, Faulkner replied: "No. No, not...an actual one, only...in behavior." ;)


message 9: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "I'm such a burden on you all. I'll be gone soon! I'll be gone!" Everyone rolled their eyes indulgently, except for Jason Compson, who reminded his mother than she was a slut, but assured her that "he reckoned he could stand to have a whore for a mother if she could stand to be one."

Sounds like Christmas at my house.


message 10: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
The next essay I'm about to read in my TSATF Norton Critical Edition was written by a cat named, I shit you not, Warwick Wadlington.

If this guy's not a real-life hobbit, I'm going to be severely disappointed.


message 11: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Hey, that's the guy from Willow!


message 12: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
from http://www.bookrags.com/notes/saf/par...
"but as Quentin continues to tell her that Herbert is not an upstanding gentleman, she admits to him that she has to marry somebody. Not only is she sick with blackguard and needs someone to take care of her, she is also pregnant."

What the everlovin' f@$k?! Who makes these study guides?


message 13: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
Now that everyone's probably about finished, here's the point of the book for anyone who missed it:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.


The closing lines remind me of this podcast, actually. ;)


message 14: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
But who is the idiot?

Benjy, whose only communication is by moans and wails, and has the mind of a child? Or Jason the younger, who deludes himself continually into thinking he is a bastion of rightness in a world of greed, corruption and impropriety? Or Quentin, who loves the idea of loving his sister more than love, or life, itself? Or Jason senior, who sacrificed his family's land for a fallen daughter and a suicidal son? Or Dilsey, who spends her entire life toiling for a self-destructive family that doesn't appreciate it? Or Faulkner himself, who tells the story?


message 15: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "But who is the idiot?"

Both Shakespeare and Faulkner meant "idiot" in the "mentally disabled" sense of the word. So, Benjy. His section opens the book, and he, in essence, gets the final word when he "roared and roared" to make Luster go the right instead of the left, thereby putting "post and tree, window and doorway and signboard each in its ordered place."


message 16: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Dave wrote: "Both Shakespeare and Faulkner meant "idiot" in the "mentally disabled" sense of the word. So, Benjy."

I know this is literally true, but I was getting at the idea that, like any tragedy, this story is full of erstwhile idiots, i.e. people making fatally bad decisions about their lives and those around them.


message 17: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "I know this is literally true, but I was getting at the idea that, like any trage..."

I might agree with you, except I don't think that's how the word idiot is being used in this sense. It's more like the nonsensical howling of a lunatic than someone who makes poor decisions. That's sort of the core of the nihilistic nature of both the quotation and the novel. Life--or, in the narrower case of Benjy, Quentin, and Jason, structure, memory, and order--"signifying nothing."

There's a little further reading on the Compsons from the same period in which this novel was written that I wanted to pass along if anyone's interested. Faulkner wrote two short stories about the Compson kids before he began work on TSATF (which itself began as a short story called "Twilight"), though neither was actually published until 1931. Both are narrated by a significantly more focused Quentin (the boy). Neither, tellingly, features or even mentions Benjy.

The first is called "That Evening Sun" (sometimes referred to as "That Evening Sun Go Down"), about a troubled, pregnant cook and housekeeper who substitutes for Dilsey when she's ill. Quentin, though he narrates the story, barely features in it; the story uses Caddy and Jason (ages 7 and 5, respectively) and Mr. Compson much more.

The second is called "A Justice," and is a stirring social commentary on some of the awful injustices faced by blacks throughout the 19th century. The other major link to TSATF besides Quentin here (and a cameo by Quentin's grandfather) is Ikkemotubbe, aka The Man, aka Doom. If you didn't think his entry in the Appendix made a terrible lot of sense in relation to the novel (or anything, really), this story clears quite a bit of that up and establishes Ikkemotubbe's importance in general Faulkner lore as a founding father of Yoknapatawpha County.

Both stories were originally published in a short story collection called These 13, and they can also both be found in Collected Stories.


message 18: by Jason, Walking Allergen (last edited May 30, 2014 08:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Dave wrote:"I might agree with you, except I don't think that's how the word idiot is being used in this sense.

I don't think that's true. This is a novel with a family history in the back, a history that is full of failures and self-destruction (not entirely unlike the Sartoris family.) Jason the younger's bachelorhood is a major focus, because it means that the family will end with him, and although Benjy would not have had children in any event, he is castrated, which ensures it.

There were a lot of decisions that contributed to the end of the Compson line: Quentin's suicide, Jason's venality and indifference to his family's home and future, Caroline's self-involvement, Jason the elder's sale of the pasture and the fact that he drank himself to death. Benjy might be emblematic of this decline, but he's not the sum total of it, and it's that decline that is at the center of the novel.


message 19: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
I read "That Evening Sun" several times years ago. It's a chilling story. That and "A Rose For Emily" were (probably) my introduction to Faulkner.


message 20: by Dave Alluisi, Evolution of the Arm (last edited May 30, 2014 09:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Alluisi | 1047 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "I don't think that's true."

I meant in the Macbeth quotation and its application to the book's title and theme. I'm definitely not arguing that the Compsons don't largely, if not exclusively, cause their own downfall, just that, in the Shakespearean metaphor, life is compared to the nonsensical howling of a mentally disabled madman, and this is where the story begins and ends--with Benjy.

Jason wrote: "I read "That Evening Sun" several times years ago. It's a chilling story."

Definitely. I love that there's no resolution there for poor Nancy, either. (view spoiler)


message 21: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
We were about 10 minutes into our podcast on this book when a squirrel chewed through a transformer wire and blew out my block's power. I won't take as an omen or anything. We've rescheduled for early next week.


message 22: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Sure, a "squirrel." It was Bill Faulkner's ghost, and you know it.


message 23: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
Will one of you jokers remind me to talk about "sanpaku" when we re-do the show?


message 24: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Don't do it. There are better ways to remove the stain of dishonor.


message 25: by Jason, Walking Allergen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
A recording of a show discussing this book exists, I swear. If anyone wants to listen, they might need to stop by Matt's house.


message 26: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (last edited Jun 23, 2014 09:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
Done! Took me a while to get the time to bounce the outro music out of my digital recorder. Ready for publishing, Jason.
I forgot to talk about sanpaku! I just wanted to mention that, I believe, during Quentin's section, he describes Caddy as having sanpaku (which is where you can see the sclera [white] of the eye between the iris and lower eyelid). It was traditionally held to be a sign of poor health or an omen of early death. Don't know if it's likely Faulkner would have had exposure to the idea, but the description seemed oddly specific. Sorry, don't have page numbers (at work).


message 27: by Jason, Walking Allergen (last edited Jun 23, 2014 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Ah, that's right, we forgot to remind you! Interesting stuff, Matt. Offhand, I can't think how that relates symbolically to Candace, except maybe in a she'll-be-the-death-of-me way. In some ways, though absent, she's the only true survivor of the family, along with the family member most closely related to her (her daughter.) And Dilsey, but she's not a Compson.

Off topic: Does it bug anyone else how scrunched together Goodreads makes sentences? I put a lot more space after commas in my posts than end up being reflected onscreen.


message 28: by Jeppe (new)

Jeppe (jmulich) | 315 comments Can't wait to listen!


message 29: by Jason, Walking Allergen (last edited Jun 25, 2014 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason | 1166 comments Mod
Voila:

http://bookhouseboyspodcast.podomatic...

The tags I used were: incest, greed, depravity, dissolution, etc. We'll see what class of listeners we can reel in with our last show.


message 30: by Matt, I am the Great Went. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt | 1517 comments Mod
I can't imagine better tags for ending our show.


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