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MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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LITERARY/HISTORICAL INFORMATION

STYLE - Faulkner employs the stream-of-consciousness technique of writing. In creating stream-of-consciousness narration, most writers use a third person observer whose point of view is almost identical with that of the character in question. Faulkner is nearly unique in his choice to employ stream-of-consciousness in first person narration. By using first person narration, Faulkner gains an advantage, which lies in the opportunity to show the contrast between a strong dramatic action and the mental reactions of a character without a narrative disruption or a significant tone difference. In many cases Faulkner creates characters who are themselves detached witnesses of the main action and whose monologues are interior in form only. Even in the genuine stream- of-consciousness passages there are many shifts to ordinary discourse and conventional flashback descriptions.


TITLE - The title The Sound and the Fury is borrowed from Shakespeare's play Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5) "Tomorrow, & tomorrow, & tomorrow'. Creeps in this pretty 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 this stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing."

Some characters in the novel identify with the ideas in this passage, while the phrase 'sound and fury' aptly describes the content of the various monologues in the novel. In Section II of the novel we find Quentin trying to crush his shadow as he walks along a riverbank or through the woods. Benjy the idiot is 'moaning and slobbering most of the time and is constantly being asked to 'hush up'. Jason is raging all the time against his niece, his mother, the Negro servants or his idiot brother. He thus makes the loudest sound and shows the most fury. Mrs. Compson contributes to the sound by her whining and self-pity. Section I contains a tale told by an idiot. The life of the Compson's on the whole signifies nothing except decay and futility.

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MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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