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MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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These are the events of Quentin's day--a meticulously ordered life where everything has its place and time slowly marches on. Throughout the day, however, Quentin is reliving the past. Names, faces, and images drift in and out of his thoughts, just as they did for Benjy. What follows is a list of the memories and thoughts that seem to occupy Quentin's mind in the hours before he kills himself. Some are pieced together from bits scattered throughout his narrative--incidents that are broken up and mentioned over and over again during the day.

1. Mr. Compson's views on time are remembered. He once said Christ was never crucified; instead he was worn away by the passage of time indicated by the ticking of a watch.

Caddy's marriage is announced.

2. Quentin thinks he should have said he and Caddy committed incest. He thinks the shock of their mutual sin would have lessened the shame of her true, individual sin (impurity, promiscuity).

3. Quentin remembers his father's apathy toward Caddy's behavior and subsequent pregnancy. Mr. Compson once told Quentin the concept of virginity was invented by men and did not matter to women.

4. Quentin remembers Caddy's wedding--the way she runs across the lawn in her wedding dress, the way Benjy is drunk and crying.

5. He remembers the day he slaps Caddy at the creek. Caddy kneels and comforts Benjy, telling him she will not run away.

6. He remembers the day Caddy had sex with Dalton Ames. He torments himself and her by asking if she loves Dalton. He is furious with her for being "dirty", for giving her body to Dalton.

7. Quentin meets Dalton Ames and asks him if he has a sister. Dalton replies "No but they're all bitches." This infuriates Quentin, who proceeds to fight Dalton and lose.

8. Quentin remembers how Caddy caught him in a car with a girl and called her a "dirty girl".

9, He recalls a time when he and Caddy contemplated running away and taking Benjy with them. He also remembers a suicide pact they formed. He couldn't go through with it.

10. Caddy tells him she is pregnant and has to marry someone. She picks Herbert Head.

11. Herbert offers to give money to Quentin for college. Quentin detests Herbert. Caddy and Herbert drive off in a car.


The first thing to note about this section is how much more of Quentin's personality is revealed. In Benjy's section, Quentin is a shadowy figure. The only vivid memory is of Quentin slapping Caddy at the creek for muddying her underwear. That small characterization of Quentin as a person who likes things to be clean and in proper order is further reinforced by his narrative. He is meticulously concerned with time. He watches shadows and accurately estimates time. He is constantly pausing to listen to clocks or look at his watch. No matter what Quentin does to his watch, time continues to tick on. He recalls his father's statement: "Christ was no crucified; he was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels." Quentin senses that his life will not end suddenly, in a great explosion of pain and unhappiness. Instead, his death will be a drawn out process - miserable years after years of small sufferings and tragedies that push him into his grave. Quentin does not want his life to be worn away; he chooses suicide as a way to stop time from clicking away.

When this section begins Quentin has already decided to commit suicide. His decision seems born out of the fact that he cannot live in a world as un-ordered and chaotic as the one he lives in. Specifically, he seems most troubled by the fate of his sister Caddy, whom he loves with an almost incestual affection. In fact, he seems so troubled by her disgraceful conduct he would rather have the shame heaped on him than her, and considers telling their father Caddy lost her innocence to him, rather than the countless men of her youth. He is a virgin, and laments the fact that she is not. The scene Benjy recounts of Quentin slapping Caddy for muddying her underwear and removing her dress is symbolic of Quentin's grief over Caddy's moral downfall. In a sense, her figurative underclothes are soiled by her own impurity, and her willingness to disrobe is at the heart of her downfall. Quentin torments himself with his sister's disgrace, following her, interrogating her. He does not know how to deal with the disorder in her life.

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MonkeyNotes-The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner


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