The Sound and the Fury is a wonderful written work first presented by William Faulkner in 1929. The book has many compelling episodes to get absorbed with. It is interesting how Faulkner described his characters so vividly, each of them has own principles, virtues, attitude towards life and towards Caddy.
One of the main protagonists is Caddy. Candace is the second child of the Compson family. Being the only daughter Caddy had to play different female roles in the family. Also the author tells us about the three brothers Quentin, Jason, and Benjy who actually entrusted the three different roles to Caddy.
Though the narration is and out of consecutive order, it still arouses many controversial feelings in the reader’s heart due to the rapidly changing events within the time frames and morality. Following the story line of deteriorating Southern aristocratic society Faulkner showed the decline of Caddy. It is surprising how the author talks on his behalf just in some parts of the book.
Several different characters describe the events with their voices and from their points of view, the book’s plot becomes even more interesting because we get a chance to form own opinion about Caddy after watching other characters implying theirs.
For example, the insane Benjy loved Caddy and used to associate her with enjoyable memory from the childhood: Caddy smells like trees (Faulkner, p.38), whereas Jason hated her fiercely, and Quentin was bound to Caddy by the former mother’s neglect.
Due to different emotions of brothers- namely, obsession – towards Caddy we can clearly see how the author shapes the character of a girl. It is important to unveil how exactly Faulkner showed the brothers’ varying attitudes towards their sister Caddy through their voices in the novel. No wonder those will be enormously different because all three characters under consideration are presented in different light and moral shape.
Benjamin Compson was the youngest brother of all four who won the utmost and genuine love of Caddy. The most important thing is that he was mentally disabled. It is well-known that during post-war times such people deserved neither much attention nor love from their family.
Moreover, Benjy was somewhat a disgrace for the family of Compsons, especially for Mrs. Caroline Compson. Of course, this played a huge role in forming the attitude of Caddy to Benjy. Being a very straightforward and confident Caddy managed to be a carrying person. She was the one who really cared for Benjy with pure love of elder sister.
Moreover, once the mother left Caddy merely replaced the mother for Benjy. Since then and way before that Benjy was dependent on Caddy because it is hard to imagine everybody else to have any affection for moaning and speechless idiot.
However, for the sake of fairness, it has t be mentioned that Benjy was somewhat unique in terms of supernatural sensing of things like Caddy’s virginity loss – he could merely smell it. This was an outcome of his inborn disease – his utter inability let him sense what was right and what was wrong. Also, it is surprising how Faulkner introduces Benjy’s ability to sense Quentin’s suicide being miles away from Harvard.
The other perspective of Caddy’s behavior is clearly seen through another brother’s eyes. Quentin is the oldest brother who struggles to watch his sister’s promiscuous way of life. Subsequently, when Caddy gats pregnant and refuses to reveal her baby’s dead Quentin decides to commit suicide on the bridge over the Charles River. Of course, it is extremely hard to imagine any brother dying like that in the modern society.
However, it is to be taken into consideration that Quentin was a person of poor will, besides he was neurotic and too passionate about many issues of the post-war society. His over-passion about the family’s former prestige and the Southern way of conduct and morality can be considered the same as the chivalry code which was also successfully implemented in his attitude towards Caddy.
Meaning, that Quentin – being a very intelligent guy- is totally paralyzed by obsession with his sister. It seem like he wanted to take care of her at the same time not forgetting about the principles of the family’s position. These issues force Quentin think of his sister in a bad way and subsequently sympathize her to the utmost, having complete chaos in his head about the ideal feminine purity.
Hence, when Quentin realizes that his sister and the after gave up the ideal he followed throughout entire life he gets desperate and kills himself because he wasn’t a man of action. However, it is to be mentioned that Quentin was the one to accept false fatherhood and say he and Caddy committed incest in order to protect Caddy and the family, and his own persuasions.
The leading powers that occupy the third brother Jason’s life are hatred and spite. This is the foremost issue that should be taken into consideration when talking about his attitude to Caddy and her daughter Miss Quentin. Just like his brothers Jason is obsessed with Caddy.
Abnormally, Jason’s fixation on Caddy is in his desire to get her in trouble. Jason is described as immoral person throughout the entire novel: first of all being unable to reciprocate love of Mrs. Compson and afterwards steeling money Miss Quentin behind her back.
His hatred for Caddy is evident since the only thing that concerns him is material world: Jason going to be rich man.” …. He holding his money all the time (Faulkner, p.228). Hence, the lost job – due to Caddy’s pregnancy and subsequent divorce – was the foremost reason to have the feeling of disgust and hate for his sister.
Luckily, William Faulkner presented a nice chance for the readers to see the main character’s behavior from different perspectives. It is amazing how the cultural values and virtues are embodied in people’s attitudes towards their relatives.
The Sound and the Fury is a magnificent novel that shows the life stand points of the three brothers. One of which – Benjy – was not able to love, the second one – Quentin – didn’t know how to love anyone except for his sister, and the third – Jason – did not want to and rejected any of love’s display. The story is so compelling and exciting that we simply get lost in the flashbacks and the story of Dilsey, the Compson family’s devoted “Negro” cook.
The novel vividly describes their attitudes to Caddy and her life deeds. The author twisted the plot greatly, basing on the fact that there was only one sister who played different roles for all of the three brothers of Compsons. We could explicitly see how people values differ and how the one person can be regarded variously within one family.
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. NY, New York: Vintage (1991). Print.