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It is very difficult to analyze the plot of The Sound and The Fury. Faulkner himself said the novel contains the same story told four times. Each time, however, different viewpoints and different arrays of details are shared. Some of the incidents in the first (Benjy's) and the second (Quentin) monologues are shared, but the incidents in the last two sections are entirely different. There are only one or two allusions to the incidents of the first two sections.
The novel is not chronological. The chapters are ordered as follows:
Chapter ONE: APRIL 7, 1928 Chapter TWO: JUNE 2, 1910 Chapter THREE: APRIL 6, 1928 Chapter FOUR: APRIL 8, 1928
Clearly, the first, third, and fourth chapters are linked in time in that they all take place on Easter weekend, 1928, though their order is scrambled. Chapter Two happens eighteen years prior. The events of Easter weekend are undercut by a stream of memories of events that happened anywhere from 1902 to 1928. It takes a second, and sometimes third reading of The Sound and the Fury, as well as some extensive note taking, to see that time is broken up entirely in the telling of this story.
The Main Theme: The decline of an aristocratic Southern family.
The Compson family with which the novel deals has generals, a governor, and wealthy planters among its ancestors. The family of the present in the novel owns an estate called the 'Compson Mile'. The novel tells us about the last generation of the Compson's: Mr. and Mrs. Compson, their four children, a granddaughter, and their black servants. The four children Quentin, Caddy Jason and Benjy are seen during their early years and then when they grow up, while the granddaughter Miss Quentin is seen only as a teenager. The novel tells a story of a lack of cohesion, the loss of morality, and the heritage of time--all responsible for the total destruction of a once grand family in the South.