Annotated Bibliography of Works Pertaining to the Compsons


Baum, Catherine B. “The Beautiful One.” Bloom, Harold. Caddy Compson. (1990): 39-48 Catherine Baum’s article emphasizes the role of Caddy as the central and most tragic character in “The Sound and the Fury.” She suggests that the order of the four sections of the novel are a chronology of Caddy’s life: childhood, adolescence, womanhood. Her true character is selfless and loving, which can most strongly be seen in her relationship with Benjy. Baum also explores Caddy’s other admirable qualities: courage, curiosity, independence, and self-reliance which make her “beautiful and moving;” and how her eventual loss of these qualities is the true tragedy of the novel. Her complete selflessness ultimately leads to her downfall because of how everyone takes advantage of her. Baum traces the change in Caddy’s character through the relationships with all the men in her life: Benjy, Charlie, Dalton, Quentin, Herbert, Jason, and the Nazi general

Carter, Steve. “Caddy and Quentin: Anima and Animus Orbited Nice.” Bloom, Harold. Caddy Compson. (1990): 98-106. In this article Steve Carter argues that while some Freudian concepts are present in “The Sound and the Fury,” it has led to a misreading and misinterpretation of the central characters of Caddy and Quentin. A better way of interpreting them is through Jungian concepts, particularly “anima-animus.” The anima is the personification of a man’s collective unconscious and is met with in his dreams, or if he projects it onto a real woman. This is what Quentin has done with Caddy. He is overly obsessed with her, yet has no real incestuous desire for her (though he thinks so). He doesn’t love her body, but an idea of family honor. He gathers unconscious “primordial images” and his feelings about women in the general abstract and projects them onto Caddy. Though she is not as obsessive as her brother, Caddy finds her “animus” in Quentin. He represents to her a concept of Compson tradition and laws. They’re “neuroses” make them strive to express psychological qualities they are lacking, to make themselves whole.

Faulkner, William. “Appendix. Compson: 1699-1945.” The Sound and the Fury an Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: Norton, 1994. This addition to the novel was not added to the original text of The Sound and the Fury until its completion in 1945. This section provides a detailed genealogy of Faulkner’s fictional Compson family and even gives some information regarding the life of the characters following the events of the novel. Although an understanding of the novel itself does not necessarily require this extra writing by Faulkner, this is a valuable piece of text and proves to be helpful when studying some of the more obscure aspects of the novel.

—. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Norton, 1994. The Sound and the Fury is a landmark novel by author William Faulkner. First published in 1929, Faulkner employs innovative modern literary techniques to tell the story of the domestic hardships faced by the fictional Compson family. The setting is in the invented town of Jefferson located in the equally fabricated rural Mississippi region of Yoknapatawpha County. The story is divided into four chapters that might more appropriately be called perspectives, as each section gives a unique account of story’s main plot and accompanying themes. The Sound and the Fury is an influential 20th century literary work and plays a prominent role in America’s literary history.

Gwin, Minrose C. “Hearing Caddy’s Voice.” Minter, David. The Sound and the Fury, 2nd edition. (1994): 405-412. This article examines Caddy Compson’s persona and voice in “The Sound and the Fury,” and the difficulty of knowing with certainty what that voice and persona really is. Caddy herself has no 1st person narrative, and the reader comes to know her through the varying perceptions of her brothers Benjy, Quentin, and Jason. Gwin says that as readers we are like Benjy, trying to say Caddy, but are unable. She believes that Faulkner’s feelings of frustration and failure stem from trying to portray a female character through a male perception. Caddy dialogue and silence, presence and absence, in the story inquire the nature of female subjectivity within a male text. Gwin also theorizes that feminine space overlays time throughout the novel. Within Benjy’s narrative, Caddy speaks and acts maternally; she goes from a child to a mother, one he needs, reaffirming the maternal space connecting them. Gwin also examines the scene of Caddy standing in the door crying, shortly after losing her virginity: it is Caddy silenced, “entrapped by male discourse.” The author fully discusses Caddy’s relationship with Benjy, but barely touches on Quentin, and leaves out Jason. Examining her relationship with her other two brothers, and their perception of her, is also important to understanding her character as a whole.

Hill, Jr., Douglas B. “Faulkner’s Caddy.” Bloom, Harold. Caddy Compson. (1990): 84- 97. Hill says that the reader’s response to Caddy is the measure of emotional response to the novel. The reader must fully examine the two ways Faulkner presents Caddy, as human character and functional character, to truly understand her and the effect she has. Faulkner does three things to develop a rich objective existence for Caddy: he has the narrators give her speech verbatim; he has the final section and appendix in third person narrative, giving an “air of sanity and clarification;” and allows the reader to make his/her own picture of Caddy through negative inference. Benjy section presents Caddy as both wife and mother, and has male attitude clichés. Time is form and content in Quentin’s section. Time is linked to sexuality, especially Caddy’s, which is why Quentin is obsessed with stopping it. Jason’s view of Caddy (“once a bitch always a bitch”) is completely different from Benjy and Quentin’s, which strengthens for the reader the view of Caddy in the previous narratives.

Irwin, John T. “Quentin and Caddy.” Bloom, Harold. Caddy Compson. (1990): 59-67. Irwin examines how Quentin’s suicide is meant to redeem himself from failing as brother avenger and brother seducer to Caddy. The brother seducer is the dark self, the ego shadowed by the unconscious; and the brother avenger is the bright self, the ego controlled by the superego. Because Caddy loses her virginity before marriage, Quentin feels there has been a reversal of masculine and feminine roles. His obsession is displacement of his feelings about being unable to lose his own virginity. Irwin also suggests that the confrontation between Caddy and Quentin in the stream, for Quentin, is a connection between sexual desire and death: “the brother seducer with a phallic knife at his sister’s throat/ the brother avenger with a castrating knife at the brother seducer’s throat.”

Lockyer, Judith. Ordered By Words: Language and Narration in the Novels of William Faulkner. Carbondale: University Press, 1991. In this book Judith Lockyer examines the theme of authoritative language in the works of Faulkner. Special attention is given to the language used by the Compson father and the implications this has on the children of the family. Likewise, how this language shapes the perceptions of the Compson children, especially Quentin, is also a topic of study. This work by Lockyer covers this subject extensively relating it not just to The Sound and the Fury, but also as a reoccurring theme in the works of Faulkner.

Matthews, John T. “The Discovery of Loss.” The Sound and the Fury an Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: Norton, 1994. John T. Matthews explores the theme of relational deficiency in his writing “The Discovery of Loss.” Matthews examines the relationships between the characters of The Sound and the Fury and how the characters reject and attach themselves to one another. Matthews approaches Faulkner’s novel with a kind of psychological insight that provides valuable perspective on the Compson family. Matthews argues, for instance, that part of the reason Jason Compson (the son of Mr. Compson) is aggressive toward Candace and her child is because of his resentment for the loss of his sister as a parental figure.

Moore, Kathleen. “Jason Compson and the Mother Complex.” Mississippi Quarterly 53.4 (Fall2000 2000): 533. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Lorain County Community College Library, Elyria, OH. 27 Apr. 2009 http://proxy.ohiolink. edu:9099/login?url= &AN=6473429&site=ehost-live>. This article by Kathleen Moore is an analysis of Jason Compson, the third child of Jason Compson Sr. and Caroline Bascomb, from a Freudian psychological perspective. According to Moore, all of Jason Compson frustrations are connected to his fixation with his mother in one way or another. Moore points out that throughout the text of The Sound and the Fury Jason Compson has an attachment to his mother in an unhealthy way. Frequently Jason is glad that his mother considers him to have more in common with the Bascomb side of the family. Moore affirms that Jason demonstrates symptoms of the Freudian concept known as the Oedipus complex.

Singal, Daniel Joseph. William Faulkner: The Making of a Modernist. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. Daniel Joseph Singal demonstrates an intricate knowledge of the modern method of treating fictional literary characters. Singal dissects the figures of William Faulkner’s novels, particularly the Compson family. Singal gives tremendous insight into the literary techniques and psychological applications used by Faulkner to flesh out real and convincing characters. Social tensions in The Sound and the Fury, among other works, are also examined thoroughly in order to establish a context for the events of the Faulkner novel.

Sterne, Richard C. “Why Jason Compson IV Hates Babe Ruth.” American Notes & Queries 16.7 (Mar. 1978): 105. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Lorain County Community College Library, Elyria, OH. 27 Apr. 2009 < login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=7215242&site=ehost-live>. In this article by Richard C. Sterne a peculiar statement made by Jason Compson concerning his hatred for the famous Major League Baseball player Babe Ruth. Sterne alleges that Jason’s hatred for the famed star of the Yankees franchise stems from his disgust and jealously of the “Great Bambino’s” ability to obtain wealth and notoriety with ease. Sterne compares the financial and social difficulties of Jason with the incredible successes of Ruth, claiming that Jason feels a sense of injustice because of this. According to Sterne, another possible reason for Jason’s contempt for the athlete may come from the rumor that Babe Ruth was part African American. A rumor that started because of his vague heritage and the thickness of his facial features. Thus, Sterne supposes that prejudice may play a role in Jason’s hatred for the baseball player.

Wadlington, Warwick. “Tragedy in The Sound and the Fury.” The Sound and the Fury an Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: Norton, 1994. In this critical essay by Warwick Wadlington, titled, “Tragedy in The Sound and the Fury,” Wadlington makes a critical analysis specifically dealing with the elements of tragedy in The Sound and the Fury. Wadlington compares and contrasts Faulkner’s novel against historical models of tragedy in literature. Wadlington compares the Compson family of Faulkner’s novel with the characters of Sophocles, the ancient Greek playwright, Oedipus, Electra, Antigone, etc. According to Wadlington, tragedy is a unifying feature of history and serves to connect the present with the past.

Zender, Karl F. “Teaching and Learning in The Sound and the Fury.” William Faulkner (Bloom’s Major Novelist). New York: Chelsea House, 1999. The contrast between the roles of parental instruction and academic education in the growth and maturity of the Compson children is the problem addressed by Karl F. Zender’s in his discussion on the topic, “Teaching and Learning in The Sound and the Fury. Zender’s writing mainly deals with the advice Mr. Jason Compson gives to his son Quentin compared to Quentin’s own academic progress. According to Zender, Quentin longs for the authoritative knowledge of his father and clings to all the instruction of his father, but the advice that Mr. Jason gives is often at odds with Quentin’s own idea of wisdom.

Published on May 3, 2009 at 1:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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