The Sound and the Fury By William Faulkner (Download-PDF-Online Reading-Summary)

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The Sound and the Fury is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner. It employs a series of narrative styles, including a stream of consciousness. Published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner's fourth novel and had no immediate success. In 1931, however, when Faulkner's sixth novel, Sanctuary, a sensationalist story, was published that Faulkner later claimed was written for money alone, The Sound and the Fury also had commercial success, and Faulkner began to receive critical attention.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Sound and the Fury in sixth place on its list of the 100 best novels in English of the 20th century.

Author William Faulkner
Country United States
Language English
Genre Southern Gothic novel
Modernist novel
Published 1929
Publisher Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith
Publication date
1929

Book Summary
The Sound and the Fury takes place in Jefferson, Mississippi. The novel focuses on the Compson family, former Southern aristocrats struggling to deal with their family's dissolution and reputation. In the course of the more or less related 30 years in the novel, the family falls into financial ruin, loses their religious faith and respect for the city of Jefferson, and many of them die tragically.

The novel is divided into four stories. The first, on April 7, 1928, is written from the perspective of Benjamin "Benjy" Compson, a 33-year-old man with intellectual disability. Benjy's section is characterized by a very disjointed narrative style with frequent chronological jumps. The second section, on June 2, 1910, focuses on Quentin Compson, Benjy's older brother, and the events that led to his suicide. This section is written in the consciousness style stream and also contains frequent chronological breaks.

In the third section, established a day before the first, on April 6, 1928, Faulkner writes from the point of view of Jason, the cynical younger brother of Quentin. In the fourth and final section, established one day after the first, on April 8, 1928, Faulkner presents an omniscient point of view in the third person. This last section focuses primarily on Dilsey, one of the Compson's black servants, and his relationships with Jason and "Miss" Quentin Compson (Caddy's daughter), with glimpses of the thoughts and actions of everyone in the family.

In 1945, Faulkner wrote a "Compson Appendix" to be included with future impressions of The Sound and the Fury. It contains a 30-page history of the Compson family from 1699 to 1945.

Book Club Questions

Book Review
One of those august Mississippi families who fell in difficult times and wild eccentricity after the Civil War. But, in fact, what William Faulkner really looks for in his legendary novel is the kaleidoscope of consciousness, the overloaded mind caught in the act of thinking. Its rich, dark story full of scandals of wasted fortune, incest (in thought, if not in fact), madness, congenital brain damage, theft, illegitimacy, and stoic resistance is told in the inner voices of three Compson brothers: first Benjy, the "idiot" boy who blurs three decades of incipient sensations while stalking the margins of the old family pasture; then Quentin, torturing himself brilliantly, obsessively over Caddy's lost virginity and his own failure to regain family honor while wandering the Boston fringes; and finally Jason, ruthless, cunning, furtive, fueling a perpetual sense of injury and outrage against his outrageous family.

About The Author
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short-story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are set in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel." Faulkner has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature. Faulkner was influenced by European modernism and employed a stream of consciousness in several of his novels.

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