Quentin Compson

Quentin Compson makes many attempts to overcome his desire to be less than masculine and fails. Examples include his inability to use the knife and the gun as well as not being able to carry out a threat that he makes, lessens his conception of himself even more. He tries to get encouragement from his father as he speaks to him, and only sees his father’s weakness, which further supports his thoughts on wanting to be a mother-figure instead of a man. Quentin often says, “The dungeon was mother herself”. He attempts to save himself from these thoughts by believing that if he can “say it” all of his problems will no longer be. Unlike sexuality he has control over the words and that would make him a man. Unfortunately, he is not able to do either so, in his mind he becomes a “nonbeing”.

Quentin’s section is very melancholy. He makes reference often to his shadow. Trying to beat his shadow and beat time. However the only way to escape both is to take his own life. He goes through the motions of the day, getting ready for school, brushing his teeth, etc. All the while he reminisces over the painful memories and smells that antagonize him. Quentin’s section is very emotional especially in comparison to his brutal brother Jason. However, his mental anguish leads to his demise and taking his own life. The melancholy of his narrative shapes the plot and its meaning to help define “the sound and the fury” of his character.

There are also several references to incest with Caddy. Again, this idea compliments Quentin’s need for solitude and the desire to escape time. The one person he trusts and cares most about is the only person he wants with him in solitude. When Quentin claims the he committed incest he is hoping that society will shun both him and Caddy so they can run away together.

If you were to hear what goes on in Quentin’s mind, you’d hear “tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick…” through to infinity. He is obsessed with time. Everything is about time. He rips the hands off of the watch that his father gave him, watches the shadows obsessively, and considers his father’s words about time healing all wounds and grief to be horrifying. Quentin does not want to forget, and he certainly does not want to move forward in time—he wants to go back, back to the times with Caddy down by the river. His life in the present is lonely and helpless, and he longs for the times when he did not feel as such—so much so that in the end, he kills himself.

Work Cited:

Kartiganer, Donald M. and Ann J. Abadie.Faulkner & Psychology/Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha. Jackson:University Press of Mississippi, 1994.(8-12,67-69).

Published on May 5, 2009 at 2:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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