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MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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SECTION III: Jason's Monologue, 6th April 1928

Summary

Jason's section falls on Good Friday, traditionally recognized as the day of the crucifixion in Christian history. The present day events of this chapter occur a day before those in Benjy's section. Jason is having a conversation with his mother on the subject of Miss Quentin's recent troubling behavior. Evidently, Miss Quentin is skipping school and the authorities say if she misses another day, she will be expelled. Mrs. Compson is her typical self, a helpless martyr who simply cannot understand why her family is so set on upsetting her. Jason is smug, authoritarian. He acts like the noble hero of the family, trying in vain to hold things together despite how much the effort costs him. In reality, he is the one tearing the family apart. Jason tells his mother, who adores him, he will put a stop to Miss Quentin's behavior if she will let him and not interfere. He goes downstairs and manhandles Miss Quentin, threatening to spank her. She is seventeen.

Dilsey tries to get Jason to stop but he is adamant about frightening Miss Quentin. It is only when Mrs. Compson comes down that he stops. He forces Miss Quentin to let him take her to school. In the garage, Jason gets irritated at Luster for not putting the spare tire in the car. Luster says he is too busy looking after Benjy. Jason then orders Luster to take Benjy to the back side of the house so that people who pass their front door will not see the Compson idiot. On the way to school, Miss Quentin mentions the money that her mother Caddy has been sending. Jason tells her Mrs. Compson burns the checks, though in reality he is keeping them and giving his mother fake ones to burn. Quentin gets choked up, but she does not cry. Instead, she says she is sorry she was ever born. Defiantly, she expresses her pure hatred of Jason. He drops her off at school with a threat if she tries to skip.


Jason goes to work in Earl's Hardware Store. His mother Mrs. Compson believes she is part owner of Earl's, since she gave Jason $1000 to invest in it. But Jason kept the money to buy a car and took a job at Earl's for pay. When he arrives at the store, there is a letter from Caddy. She has been sending letters to her mother and to Miss Quentin for seventeen years, in care of Jason. She always sends money. But Jason has worked out a scheme whereby he keeps the money and no one even knows about it. He has gotten Mrs. Compson to sign over power of attorney. He then makes up blank checks and tells his mother they are from Caddy. He tells her the best thing to do would be to burn the checks, since Caddy's money is tainted by her own loose morals. Mrs. Compson burns the blanks, believing they are real, and Jason puts the real checks in the bank. He tells his mother he is giving her all his paychecks as a sign of his love and devotion. In reality, he is simply putting Caddy's money for Quentin in Mrs. Compson's account and taking credit for it as if it is his pay. Then he uses his money to live lavishly and support his girlfriend in Memphis. But today, the letter addressed to Caddy contains a $50 money order made out to Miss Quentin, not to Mrs. Compson. Jason is furious, believing Caddy has thwarted his plans. He knows that Caddy knows what kind of person he is. She has done this just to spite him.

On his break, Jason goes to the telegraph office and sends a telegram to Caddy saying that all is well, since Caddy has requested in her letter an immediate telegraph about Miss Quentin's welfare. He remembers the day Caddy's baby was brought to the Compson house. Mr. Compson had gone to settle Caddy's dispute with her husband; Herbert Head disowned Caddy and the baby when he realized it was not his own. They could not arrive at a settlement and so Caddy's baby was taken back to the Compson house. Mrs. Compson agrees to accept Caddy's child as a member of the family on the condition that Caddy's name would never be mentioned in the house. Dilsey is given the responsibility of raising the child, just as she raised the other Compson children, since Mrs. Compson is too ill.

Next, Jason remembers his father's death about a year after Miss Quentin arrived. Caddy showed up in secret and begged to be allowed to see her baby. She even gave Jason $100 to just see the baby. Jason took her money and snuck the baby out of the house, holding it up to the window of a carriage for the briefest second, in the rain, for Caddy to see. Caddy came to see him again, accusing him of cheating her. He told her to go away and never come back. When he went home that day, Benjy was terribly upset, and he suspected Caddy had been to the house. He confronted Dilsey, who said Caddy just wanted to see her baby. Jason then told Caddy if she ever tried that trick again, he would fire Dilsey, put Benjy in a home, and never let her near the family again. After that, they reached an agreement whereby Caddy would send money to Jason for Miss Quentin's care. Caddy did not want her to go without. In Jason's mind, Caddy owed him since her husband, Herbert Head, had promised him a bank job he never got. In fact, Jason thinks everyone owes him, since Quentin got to go to college with money from selling the field, and since Caddy loved Benjy but not him.

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MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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