in The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury published in 1929 is admitted to be a masterpiece, a miraculous breakthrough for William Faulkner, a minor poet and novelist until then. Though his early writings contain the potentiality of his themes and imagery to be integrated into an elaborate work, The Sound and the Fury (abbreviated as SF hereafter) clearly demands attention as a critical turning point in his career.
In 1933, when Faulkner was already established as a novelist, he was asked to write an introduction to SF for a limited edition to be published by Random House and Grabhorn Press. The plan for publication was abortive, but two introductions written by Faulkner, published by Meriwether respectively in The Southern Review and in Mississippi Quarterly, indicate that Faulkner recognized the writing of SF as his most private, inward-looking attempt. The introduction in The Southern Review reads: "One day I seemed to shut a door between me and all publishers' addresses and book lists. I said to myself, Now I can write. Now I can make myself a vase like that which the old Roman kept at his bedside and wore the rim slowly away with kissing it" (710). The corresponding part in the Mississippi Quarterly introduction reprinted in A Faulkner Miscellany reads practically the same, with a little more elaboration on the vase imagery.1 In 1990, Philip Cohen and Doreen Fowler in "Faulkner's Introduction to The Sound and the Fury" present other manuscript fragments of the introduction, and confirm the view that SF is "the expression of his unconscious, the articulation of his most deeply repressed fears and desires" (Cohen and Fowler 263).
Amid the emphasis on the personal touch, noteworthy is Faulkner's figurative explanation of a Southern artist in the Mississippi Quarterly introduction. It reveals his consciousness of an artist's difficult situation in the South. Faulkner writes: "[the Southerner] has, figuratively speaking, taken the artist in him in one hand and his milieu in the other and thrust the one into the other like a clawing and spitting cat into a croker sack. And he writes" (Miscellany 158).
Faulkner's relationship to the South is a complicated one. As he refers to his interest in publication in the two introductions, he has been always aware of the reading public. At the same time he makes it clear from the beginning that he has never regarded himself as a sentimental romance writer. The South tends to demand historical romance about the homeland of the Southern writers, but Faulkenr's early prose and poetry are full of fauns and Pierrots influenced by French symbolism, or World War I aviators emphasizing their modernity against the ante-bellum South. Faulkner the artist-cat has to fight in the croker-sack of the Southern environment in order to assert his uniqueness as an artist.
This croker-sack imagery of the South, however, bears a strange similarity to the more private imagery of the vase described in the two introductions: they share the image of enclosure and the palpable sense of boundary. The similarity of the croker-sack and the vase imagery indicates Faulkner's ambivalent response to the boudary around his self. The boundary may signify limits as well as security.
In the beginning of his career, the artist figure in Faulkner's verse is safely guarded from the outside world and watches his own reflection within the vase of his own making. For example, Faulkner's Pierrots in The Marionettes and Vision in Spring love to look at their own images in the mirror.2 Shunning any contact with society, the hero enjoys the artificial world tuned to his aesthetics.
When Faulkner begins to write novels, however, he gradually casts a critical eye on his enclosed sanctuary. In writing SF, Faulkner is admittedly making a journey into his inner self, but he senses that to go inside into the womb can be also a way to get out of it into the outer world. In the Mississippi Quarterly introduction, Faulkner writes: "I had made myself a vase, but I suppose I knew all the time that I could not live forever inside of it, that perhaps to have it so that I too could lie in bed and look at it would be better" (Miscellany 161). Faulkner's most private search into his self is pursued with the awareness of, and the confrontation with, the other. Naturally, for the author, the other in its most concrete form exists as the reader. Though Faulkner says that he shut out the possibility of publication in writing SF, he is all the same conscious of the reader when he takes the risk of exposing his most inner self in writing.
In tune with the author's awareness of the other, the precarious boundaries between the personal self and the other are sensed and fought for in a number of ways in SF. Rules, interdictions, and exchanges appearing in the internal monologues of the three brothers indicate the invasion of the other into one's private world. One's inner world cannot help being influenced and limited by the other.
Faulkner's breakthrough as a major novelist in SF is related to his full consciousness of the existence of the other. In this paper, I will begin with the sense of boundary, which divides one person from another, and discuss the idea of exchange and authority presented in contrast in SF as tentative means of crossing the boundary. While exchange works to cross the boundary between two persons on a condition agreed upon by each party, authority either crosses the boundary on force or guards off an alien's entrance at the boundary. The basic ideas of boundary, exchange and authority will be examined in Benjy's section, and will be developed in Quentin's section. Finally, the possible relationship of the author to the reader will be suggested through the examination of boundary, exchange and authority in Shegog's sermon in the fourth section.
Benjy sees the golfers playing golf from outside the fence, without comprehending the rules, without even knowing what a golf game is. "They took the flag out, and they were hitting. Then they put the flag back and they went to the table, and he hit and the other hit" (3). Reading such incoherent sentences, the reader may feel him/herself excluded from the novel, ignorant of the game at play. At the same time, however, the reader is thrown in the midst of chaos at the very beginning of the novel and experiences what it is like to see things without conventional presupposition or discursive reasoning. The reader feels the sense of being outside and inside the novel simultaneously.
The word "'caddie"' (3) is the first sign of the existence of rules and the game which the reader is familiar with. The men's movements become meaningful as a golf game and satisfy the reader's impatience for a while. To Benjy, however, the particular sound points to his sister's absence, which means total chaos and loss of security for him. While her spelled out homonym "'caddie"' encourages the reader to expect a meaningful world, the sound reminds him of his chaotic situation and causes him to give an abject cry without language. Caddy as spelled out in writing and sound unites the world of written language and Benjy's most private world prior to language.
Benjy's sister Caddy serves as a mediating interpreter for him, paraphrasing what he wants to communicate to the other. Therefore, once Caddy disappears, Benjy is left in direct contact with the world without a mediator. He is first of all physically exposed to the outer world, unprotected. On April 7, Benjy burns his finger when he directly touches the lid of a stove. In a winter season, Caddy and Versh used to tell Benjy to keep his hands in his pocket or "they'll get froze." (5). Heat or cold, Benjy desperately needs the boundary film between his raw self and the outer world to protect him. Quentin refers to Benjy's love of mirror and comments on it as follows: "Refuge unfailing in which conflict tempered silenced reconciled" (170). In Caddy's absense, the mirror for Benjy serves as the tentative film that tempers reality through reflection.3
As for communication, Benjy now has only his notorious voice to express himself straight to the other people. While the Compsons suffer from his loud, bewildered moaning, the reader does not have to hear the sound directly: the reader is one layer removed from his bellowing through the written language. Neverthelss, the language attributed to Benjy is too poor either to explain his feelings or to control the chaotic flow of the actual world. The reader feels the necessity to strengthen the language and to construct the perspective of his/her own to grasp what is happening. The reader requires the boundary of language strong enough to separate the Compson world from him/herself.
Faulkner offers many hints to reconstruct the Compson chronology, but Cheryl Lester in "From Place to Place in The Sound and the Fury: The Syntax of Interrogation," questions the critics' eagerness to draw out signification from SF. She points to "the folly and misery of this desire for an illusory identity in communication" (Lester 154). Actually, the reader is never free either from the danger of overinterpretation or from the doubt about how much s/he knows or does not know. Especially in Benjy's section, the incompleteness of syntax, the truncation of logical stream of thinking, and the shortage of necessary information all leave the reader in a helpless state of nonsignification. The reader after all finds him/herself in the figurative state of castration like Benjy. No authority ensures a unified significant whole in the Compson world.
The demise of authority is shown in Benjy's section as the decay of paternal power. Admittedly, there are a lot of interdictions and the threat of punishment in this section. Benjy is told to "'Shut up that moaning'" (4). Quentin says that Caddy and he will "'get whipped'" (19) for wetting their clothes at the branch. Versh warns Caddy against climbing up the pear tree, saying "'Mr. Jason said if you break that tree he whip you'" (39). The threat of punishment, however, usually remains only as threat. Those who defy the interdiction are not punished. Mr. Compson does not whip his children though Jason tells about the quarrel between Quentin and Caddy at the branch. The promised warning does not realize itself.
Paternal authority is on the decay. Mr. Compson only presents a cynical view on Caddy's loss of virginity, indulges in alcohol, and dies. Jason III as a father figure bullies Quentin the girl, but she finally gets away from home with her money. Quentin the eldest son is dismayed when he realizes that he has less sexual experience than Caddy has. Benjy is actuallly castrated but does not recognize clearly what happened or why. These men cannot hold power.
While the authoritative power people must obey declines in Benjy's section, there are attempts for exchange, which aim for the satisfaction of each party's desire. When Mr. Compson wants to keep the children quiet at Granny's funeral, he grants Caddy his authority to satisfy her. Caddy is happy to act as the father surrogate among the other children, but she cannot hold her authority long. She must trade with Frony when Benjy wants to have T.P.'s lightning bug. She asks Frony to let Benjy keep the bug on condition that Frony does not have to mind Caddy. The attempts for exchange and trade are numerous in Benjy's section. When Jason says that he is going to tell on Quentin and Caddy splashing water at each other in the branch, Quentin reminds him that he has made a bow and arrow for Jason. Unfortunately, Quentin cannot make a deal, because Jason flatly tells him that the toy is already broken. Luster fails to trade the golf ball he has caught in the branch for a quarter: a white golfer takes the ball without paying him anything. Jason tauntingly offers Luster to trade a ticket to the show for a nickel, and cruelly burns it in front of him. There are efforts for exchange and, in many cases, failures.
While the authority which holds a significant structure in a family is deteriorating, an individual's attempt of exchange with the other meets difficulty. In Quentin's section, we will examine how Caddy involves herself in the act of exchange, and how Quentin, on the other hand, wishes to stick to authority and is obsessed with the observation of boundary.
Quentin's suicide can be interpreted in relation to the decline of authority and also to the model of exchange. First, Quentin's suicide is a denial of his father's acceptance of Caddy's loss of virginity as a natural phenomenon. Quentin respects the value of virginity so much as to fabricate the unforgivable sin of incest. He would be satisfied if Mr. Compson joined the imaginary drama as the authority and expelled the sinners forever. The judgment of the father would assure the everlasting value of virginity and its code of honor. Caddy would not be just another common woman who has lost her virginity, but a woman marked for everlasting damnation for her defiance against the incest taboo. And Quentin can imagine himself as the agent who caused the stigma upon her. The story would also sublimate his suppressed incestuous desire toward his sister. Unfortunately, Mr. Comspon does not cooperate. Quentin must commit suicide to save his ideal of the traditional, authoritative South, and imagines Caddy and himself in hell separated from the loud world by clean flame.
Quentin's strict world of punishment, however, is undermined by his deeper attachment to his personal world. Hell is appealing to him, because there he can find the privacy and the inviolability of the enclosed world. The Southern code, which is supposed to expel incestuous lovers to solidify its system, serves to accomodate them in their sanctuary. Quentin dreams of himself and Caddy enclosed deep in the dungeon which is "mother itself" (174). Though Quentin is eager to sacrifice himself for the maintenance of the paternal authority, the severe punishment in hell is subtly associated with his retrogressive wish to return into the womb.
While Quentin futilely advocates the enforcement of the paternal authority, he also fights a losing battle against the idea of exchange. As Gerald Bland's example shows, a man supposedly separates sexual act from spiritual matter. It is all right for a Southern man to boast of sexual prowess without love. Caddy, however, proudly talks about her sexual experience and assures Quentin that hers was not a whim of physical desire but love. She not only asserts the reversal of gender roles, but emphasizes the equality and the exchangeability of language and action. She attests to the genuine quality of her love at the branch by putting Quentin's hand on her throat. Her blood surges up when Quentin calls the name "Dalton Ames" (163). Just the sound of her lover's name can raise her blood pressure. Caddy believes that the referentiality of language works in her love. She defies not only Quentin's preference of language but also Mr. Compson's naturalistic assertion that a woman's loss of virginity is just a natural phenomenon. Her loss of virginity is an act of her will, the identification of action and language.
Quentin, on the other hand, cannot trust Caddy's display of the effect of her lover's name as a perfect proof of love. Does Benjy not raise his cry blindly in the same way to the sound "Caddy" and "caddie"? Quentin murmurs "Dalton Shirt" (92) starting from Dalton Ames. Does Caddy's blood pressure rise at Dalton Shirt as well? Quentin refuses to believe that Caddy can make action equivalent to language, and tries desperately to persuade Caddy that he commited incest with her. He makes more importance of the fabricating power of language than its direct referentiality.
Quentin, however, receives another blow when Caddy decides to marry a man she does not love at all. Though Quentin hates Dalton Ames, he must admit that Ames is a formidable enemy who is able to convince Caddy of her love. Herbert Head, on the other hand, is a detestable, vulgar man and Caddy knows it. In the face of her blatant decision to marry him, Quentin cannot even try to seduce her into his incest fantasy. Though Quentin suffers greatly from Caddy's loss of virginity, the second blow of her marriage might be more fatal to him. After all, Quentin does not commit suicide before her marriage to Herbert.
Caddy takes a chance in her love and fails. She loves Dalton Ames and naturally expects the same sort of love from him, but such an ideal exchange of love does not happen. However, we never hear her regret her act. Her idea of exchange is focused on the equivalence of her action and language, not on that of her love and his. She is willing to regard her loss of virginity as gift of love, even though Ames does not requite her love.
On the other hand, when she marries Herbert, she regards the marriage only as a deal. It is an exchange in which each party makes sure to receive what s/he wants in return for what s/he gives. The point of equality in exchange moves from her language and action to the satisfaction of each person's desire. She gives herself to Herbert so that she can save her family from disgrace. Her body, in the beginning a focal point of identification of action and language, and a genuine gift of love given at request, has come to have only the exchange value dependent on the evaluation of and the negotiation with the other. It is quite proper in this sense that she marries a banker, who is used to dealing with the exchange market.
Quentin's suicide can be interpreted as his protest to Caddy in the sense that he ironically aims for the agreement of language and action in his death to defy her. Quentin writes suicide notes, and commits suicide as is written in the notes. Caddy says "Ive already died for him I die for him over and over again" (151) to describe her sexual experience. Quentin literally dies to compete with her. He dresses up as if for a wedding on the day of his suicide. In Gerald's car Quentin suddenly attacks him but is completely knocked down. Quentin bleeding and beaten unconscious is like a deflowered girl, another of Gerald's amorous victims. The dressing up and bleeding are ritualistic features of the loss of virginity. While Caddy "dies" in the sexual act which can also be an act of procreation, Quentin must die an actual death.
Quentin shows a performance of "reducto[sic] absurdum of all human experience" (76) in his suicide: he emphasizes the absurdity of the agreement of language and action in his suicide, which in turn suggests his despair and protest against Caddy's loss of virginity and marriage: Caddy should not have tried the futile attempt of identifying action with language. Quentin is appalled to see the result and her subsequent compromise with the base world of commercial exchange. Except to undo and counteract, Quentin does not want to be involved in the act of exchange. Caddy asks Quentin to promise that he take care of their father and Benjy, and tells him to finish school at Harvard because they have sold Benjy's pasture to cover the expense. Quentin breaks the promise, and his suicide, to be sure, turns the exchange of Benjy's pasture for Harvard to nothing. Quentin thinks: "What a sinful waste Dilsey would say" (90).
Quentin would rather prefer giving a gift to an exchange. A gift is one way traffic, and he can impose his desire upon the other when he gives him/her his gift. While Caddy entertains the hope of exchange of love with Ames but consequently satisfies herself with the idea of gift, Quentin does not want to admit the potentiality of exchange in his gift. On the way back home for the Christmas holidays, Quentin plays the game of "Christmas gift!" (87) to a Black, and gives him a quarter. Here, Quentin appreciates the local custom of the South, and gives money to a Black to confirm his paternalist tradition. The black man, who behaves as Quentin has expected in the South, deserves the gift from a white gentleman. Also, on the afternoon of the day of his suicide, he buys a bun and gives it to a small Italian girl. It is a simple gift to befriend her, but while they walk together, it is clear that Quentin imposes the image of lost Caddy on the little girl. He wants to take the part of her big brother who safely sends her to her mother. However, when he finds it too troublesome to locate her house, he gives her a quarter and runs. The gift of a quarter is his acknowledgment that he cannot continue his fantasy of taking her as his lost sister. It is meant as compensation for his irresponsibility. The Italian girl's sweaty, soiled body is too real to be woven into his imagination. What he begins with a gift, he wants to end with another gift which, in a practical sense, is a deal.
When Quentin is arrested and charged with kidnapping the girl, he is told to pay money to be dismissed from the charge. It reconfirms that what he has begun as a gift must end in a deal.4 Since Caddy's loss of virginity can never be compensated with money, it is quite ironical that he makes a deal with Julio, the girl's brother. One brother's sense of revenge and another's illusion of guardianship concerning their sister, both based on the paternal authority, can be exchanged through money. The exchange is a farce and an insult to Quentin's suffering.
Quentin mistrusts exchange and avoids commitment to the other. He wants to enclose Caddy within the boundary film of his language. His sister, however, insists on her exposure to the world. As a little girl, Caddy takes off her dress at the branch though Quentin protests vehemently. Just as Quentin cannot handle the Italian girl who clutches her bread so hard that the wrapping paper gets damp and the bread becomes bare, he cannot control Caddy, who demands the direct contact with the world even if the contact soils her.
On the day of his suicide, Quentin attentively watches a boy who refuses to go swimming with other boys and sits alone at the fork of a tree. The image of the solitary boy stuck at the fork of a tree reflects Quentin's psychological position. Quentin is never as adventurous as little Caddy climbing up the pear tree to witness the death of her grandmother. What Quentin can do is either to pursue the superiority of his language regardless of actuality, or to aim for the agreement of action and language in death as a futile example of self-referentiality. In either case, Quentin wants to keep his trouble within the family.5 If Caddy loses her virginity, he would like to explain it as the result of incest, not caused by an outsider. He wants his father to acknowledge the unpardonable sin of incest. He commits suicide as is suggested in his suicide note, and his image of death in the sea grotto is associated with the return to the womb. The return to the womb must be associated with "dungeon," however, to maintain the father's authority in the famiy. While Caddy chooses an outsider, either Dalton Ames or Herbert Head, to have any relationship with, Quentin is reluctant to step beyond the family boundary. Quentin, who cannot say "mother" (172), but is caught within the family, sympathizes with the boy taunted as "Mama's boy" (122) caught in his solitary but bound position on the tree.
The only exchange Quentin is intrested in and amused with happens in the three boys' conversation about the big trout. When the three boys discuss the possibility of catching the famous fish in the river, Quentin muses on the escalation of their imaginative thinking: "[the three boys] all talked at once . . . making of unreality a possibility, then a probability, then an incontrovertible fact, as people will when their desires become words" (117). Their talk dwells on a series of exchange which the trout they catch will start. But since their exchange is imaginary and there is no real party to deal with, the discussion reveals the self-rewarding nature of their imagination precipitated by the help of language. The contingent number 25 is used as the key word to develop their fancy. For instance, they can get a 25 dollar fishing rod as a reward if they can catch the trout that has never been caught for 25 years. Their talk is a dream of exchange revolving on that number.
It is ironical that Quentin, who hates exchange, is interested in the incessant exchange of words in their conversation. But Quentin has failed to hold the authoritative code of the South with his language. The agreement of language and action, on the other hand, is either absurd or unbearable to him. In that desperate situation, before he destroys himself, he witnesses the authority of his own language falling apart and surrenders to exchange. He sees a world completely different from his sustained ideal, developed in a self-procreative fantasy of language.
Admittedly, the three boys' use of a specific word to connect different things is not new in this novel. In Benjy's section, the same word or image is often used to relate two completely different scenes. In Quentin's section, however, focus is more on language itself than the referent. Quentin remembers his mother saying, "Harvard. Quentin this is Herbert. My Harvard boy. Herbert will be a big brother . . ." (93). The difference of spelling or sound among signifiers shows the difference of the signified; however, what if the similarity of the signifiers suggests the similarity of the signified? The unruly exchange and corrosion of the boundary occur at the surface of language while at the center falters the authority that sustains the whole system together.
Caddy is confident of the identification of language and action in her love, but Ames does not respond the way she has expected. The meaning or the way of love was different between the two. Quentin wants to keep the signification of language intact in his private world, witnessing the tragic fall of his sister into the commercial world of exchange. Faulkner, like Caddy, may fail to obtain the reader's response in the way he has hoped, and his book may end up in the market only with its exchange value. His decision to shut the door against "all publishers' addresses" (The Southern Review 710) aims to protect his art against book market. However, Quentin's closure to the actual world and loyalty to his ideal language lead only to self-destruction. To avoid the similar fate, the writer may as well experiment all the possibility of exchange with the reader. Next, we will discuss the precarious model of exchange between the author and the reader presented in Shegog's sermon in the fourth section of SF.
The fourth section is on Easter Sunday. Shegog's sermon on this day is naturally on Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. The sermon tells about the story of Jesus, given as a gift from God, crucified for the sins of people and resurrected. People will be saved if they believe this. It is the story of gift and exchange of contract. The condition for being saved is to believe that God loves this world so much as to give his own son. Quentin often refers to Jesus Christ on the day of his suicide, but he cannot believe in his salvation through Jesus: Quentin is gnawed with his suspicion that any authoritative order, when given, will be subject to exchange, which will undermine and transform the original meaning. According to Quentin, Jesus was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels" (77), the anonymous, exchangeable time. Quentin does not think that Jesus died for him. Neither does he believe that he will be saved on the Judgment Day.
The black congregation, however, responds to Shegog's calling and a communion occurs between them. The sudden change in Shegog's voice awakens the congregation and a woman's voice replies, followed by other members. In the church, communication is first of all a gift, and the exchange and sharing of voices, not just of a verbal message. Shegog's surrender of his body to the enormous voice, given to the audience, and the resonance of voices between the speaker and the listeners, lead to the success of communion. Through the rendition of voice that echoes among the congregation, Shegog moves the congregation to believe in Jesus' story, the model of gift and exchange, which Quentin cannot trust to the end.
Basically, Shegog's sermon and the congregation's response visualize Faulkner' ideal of communication between the author and the reader.6 The message of man's delivery through Jesus Christ in the gift-exchange act is delivered through the gift-exchange means of communication in which the preacher surrenders his body to voice. The author is also willing to surrender himself to writing. To Faulkner, who has not so far felt a satisfactory response from the reading public, the communion in the church is most desirable.
However, Shegog's metamorphosis into voice contains some grotesque imagery. "With his body he seemed to feed the voice that, succubus like, had fleshed its teeth in him" (294). Shegog's body is described as a mother's body feeding a monstrous baby and also as a man's taken in sexually by a female devil. Later, Shegog's body is further compared to the "serene, tortured crucifix" (294). The preacher's surrender is likened at once to a mother's to a monstrous baby, a male's to female sexuality, and Christ's to death. The description of his body feeding the voice is set in sharp contrast with the Virgin Mary's maternal care and affection for the infant Jesus in his sermon. Shegog's sacrificial gift of body almost parodies the message of passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The ambiguity concerning Shegog's sermon applies to writing, too. After the example of Shegog's voice, writing can be compared to the sacrificial gift of the author's self to the reader. The grotesque imagery in Shegog's surrender reflects the author's fear of violation of his self in writing. The image of either feeding or sexual intercourse brings two people in close contact--so close that the boundary is violated, and in the crucifixion imagery, the piercing of the boundary means death. Even in the impossible dream of communication between the author and the reader, the dream might become a nightmare.
Just as Shegog surrenders his body to his voice, Faulkner surrenders himself to the written language. However, the sacrifice does not necessarily lead to the happy communion as in Shegog's case. In the sermon, Shegog's voice seems to be reduced to nothing in the happy communion: "there was not even a voice but their hearts were speaking to one another in chanting measures beyond the needs for words" (294). The written language, however, cannot efface itself. It also lacks the primitive bliss of physical resonance that belongs to voice. It refuses the final surrender to and merging with the reader, and asserts its presence on the page of the paper as boundary.
In the cellar of the Compson house, Luster practices playing on a saw with Dilsey's mallet. But his saw only gives "a single sluggish twang that ceased with lifeless alacrity" (287). While Faulkner intimates, like Luster, that he just does not have the right means to make a musical sound (he has only a pen and a typewriter, designed to leave traces by grooving and beating on the paper), he appreciates the complexity of written language. It serves as a boundary film dividing and urging contact between the author and the reader, and offering to the reader a wide variety of possible exchange from the articulated meaning to its parody. The author does not assume the authority to give fixed meanings to language, but the written language is the boundary through which the battle of exchange is fought between the author and the reader.
1 James B. Meriwether, ed. "An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury," A Faulkner Miscellany (Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1974), 158, 161.
2 Faulkner 's own illustration at the end of The Marionettes shows Pierrot watching himself in the mirror. See The Marionettes, 55. In "The World and Pierrot, a Nocturne," Pierrot asks, "Or do I see my own face in a glass?" See Vision in Spring, 26.
3 Matthews discusses Benjy's attachment on things which "are just barely separated from the body of the beloved" (Matthews 67), such as Caddy's slippers, the fragrance of trees, and classifies Benjy's love of a mirror in the same category. A mirror is the surface that protects and separates him from the other.
4 Snead and Matthews both refer to Quentin giving a cigar and a nickel to two bootblacks. Snead interprets that "Quentin and Jason delight in exchanges both real and imaginary" (Snead 24). Matthews on the other hand regards the bootblack's attempt of trading the cigar with a nickel as an example of the deal of money and sex, which Quentin refuses. Snead discusses exchange in relation to Faulkner's attempt of the merging of the divided, while Matthews emphasizes the impossibility of the immediacy in communication, and language as loss. See Matthews, 94-99.
5 Walter Benn Michaels discusses Quentin's insistence to stay within the family as an example of nativisim in Our America: Nativism, Modernism, and Pluralism, 5-6. This is illuminating, but when he proceeds to suggest "the structural intimacy between nativism and modernism," subtle qualification might be necessary, since in SF, language, freed from referential relations, takes its course and helps destroy Quentin's tautological world of language.
6 The evaluation of Shegog's sermon is divided among critics. Bleikasten puts great value on Shegog as voice, though he warns against taking Shegog's sermon as the representative message of the final section (Bleikasten 196). Sundquist, on the other hand, dismisses the sermon as "dramatic parody and philosophical nonsense" (Sundquist 13). Taylor is annoyed with expressions like "aged monkey" used to describe Shegog, since he senses the despising, stereotyped bias of the white in the expression (Taylor 49). Feldstein interprets the sermon most ironically and sees the hidden theme of incest between Shegog and Dilsey (Feldstein 92).
Bleikasten, Andre. The Most Splendid Failure: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1976.
Cohen, Philip and Doreen Fowler. "Faulkner's Introduction to The Sound and the Fury." American Literature 62 (June 1990), 262-83.
Faulkner, William. The Marionettes. Noel Polk, intro. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1977.
___. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Random, 1984.
___. Vision in Spring. Judith L. Sensibar, intro. Austin: U of Texas P, 1984.
Feldstein, Richard. "Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: The Incest Theme." American Imago 41 (Spring 1985): 85-98.
Lester, Cheryl. "From Place to Place in The Sound and the Fury: The Syntax of Interrogation." Modern Fiction Studies 34 (Summer 1988): 141-55.
Matthews, John T. The Play of Faulkner's Language. Ithaca:Cornell UP, 1982.
Meriwether, James B. ed. "An Introduction for The Sound and the Fury." The Southern Review 8 (Autumn 1972): 705-710.
___, ed. "An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury." A Faulkner Miscellany. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1974,156-61.
Snead, James A. Figures of Division. New York: Methuen, 1986.
Sundquist, Eric J. Faulkner: The House Divided. Baltimore:The Johns Hopkins UP, 1983.
Taylor, Walter. Faulkner's Search for a South. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1983.