The Sound and the Fury Copy


Faulkner was known for the novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on the real Lafayette County, Mississippi.

Modernist fiction characterised by:

  • Experiments with the stream-of-consciousness narrative technique;
  • Use of language that mimics thought and eliminates conventional grammar and formal sentence structure in favour of creative modes;
  • Long and complex sentences;
  • Stream of consciousness technique is applied through both first- and third-person narrative points of view;
  • Moral themes related to the ruins of the Deep South in the post-Civil War era.
  • Original style:
    • Long sentences with long strings of adjectives;
    • Changes in narration;
    • Recursive asides;
    • Objective stream-of-consciousness (the inner experience of a character is contrasted with the outward scene).

THE SOUND AND THE FURY (published 1929)


  • Genre: family drama

The novel follows the dissolution of the Compson family after the daughter becomes pregnant through an illicit affair and is disowned.


  • Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, 1928;
  • The post-Civil War South.


  • Main theme: Family

The novel follows the breakdown of a family. The father is an alcoholic, the mother is ill and takes refuge in religion, the daughter becomes promiscuous in her teenage years and winds up pregnant, the elder son commits suicide because of his sister’s sins, the middle son becomes a thief, and the youngest son is mentally disabled. By the end of the novel, the niece runs off with a man, stealing her uncle’s money (which he had stolen from her).

  • Language
  • Innocence
  • Sin
  • Home
  • Guilt
  • Race
  • Memory
  • Sexual identity.


The three Compton brothers reminisce about their sister Caddy, each in a separate chapter of the novel. Benjy is intellectually disabled, 33-years old when telling his story, in 1928. Quentin is a young Harvard student, who tells his story in June 1910. Jason is a store worker, speaking in 1928. The fourth chapter is told by the author, focusing on Disley, the family’s African American cook, who raised all the children. The memory of their sister’s mistake forecasts the decline of the once prominent family and examines the deterioration of the Southern aristocratic class after the Civil War. Mr. Compson sees his wealth and status crumble away after the war. He becomes an alcoholic, while his wife becomes a hypochondriac. Caddy begins to behave promiscuously and becomes pregnant. Quentin is emotionally shattered by his sister’s pregnancy and claims false responsibility for it, but no one believes him. Caddy marries a banker, but when he finds out that she is pregnant, he leaves her. Quentin commits suicide, Caddy is disowned, and the remaining family raises her daughter, Miss Quentin. Mr. Comson dies of alcoholism, and Jason becomes responsible for the family. He takes up a menial job and starts stealing the money Caddy sends to support her daughter. Miss Quentin grows up rebellious and promiscuous, in constant conflict with Jason. On Easter Sunday, 1928, she steals Jason’s money and runs with a man from a traveling show. Jason tries to follow her but loses her trace. He returns home and goes to church with Benjy and Disley.


Characters presented in the analysis of the literary fragment should be adapted to the fragment itself.

  • Quentin CompsonThe oldest of the Compson children and the narrator of the novel’s second chapter. A sensitive and intelligent boy, he loves his sister and is destroyed when the family honour is affected by her behaviour. He commits suicide by drowning himself just before the end of his first year at Harvard.
  • Caddy Compson – The second oldest of the Compson children and the only daughter. She is very close to her brother Quentin. She becomes promiscuous, gets pregnant out of wedlock, and eventually marries and divorces Herbert Head in 1910. She gives birth to her daughter, named after her brother who had died but is forced to leave without the child. She sends money for the girl’s upbringing.
  • Benjy Compson – Benjy is dependent upon Caddy, his only real source of affection. He cannot understand any abstract concepts but absorbs visual and auditory cues from the world around him. He has an acute sensitivity to order and chaos, and he can immediately sense the presence of anything bad, wrong, or out of place. Benjy is the only character who truly takes notice of the Compson family’s progressing decline, but cannot express it.


  • First-person (the first three chapters), third-person omniscient (the last chapter).


  • Depends on the character who narrates;
  • Jason – sardonic, cruel;
  • Benjy – indefinite, impressionistic language of the senses;
  •  Quentin – educated, pedantic, sometimes neurotic;
  • The final section – detached 3rd person point of view, in stark contrast with the other chapters.


Depends on the character

JasonShort, tense sentences, based on actions and conversations; Lacks description and adjectives.
QuentinHis chapter follows the dissolution of his rationality and his descent into suicidal thinking; The narrative style follows his thoughts, becoming more and more chaotic.
BenjiChild-like language; Detached style; Disorienting because the character doesn’t understand the concept of time.
Omniscient narratorClean and elegant writing style; Tropes (similes, metaphors)