The third section of The Sound and the Fury is narrated by the Compson’s third child, Jason IV.  This section is considerably more readable and conventional in style; although this chapter is still designed as a stream of consciousness, it is more chronological in progression than the previous two sections.

Jason’s chapter begins “once a bitch always a bitch, what I say,” which introduces both Jason’s irrational anger towards his sister and the resentment that he feels towards his illegitimate niece (Faulkner 113).  Faulkner made a point of presenting Jason as someone who believes that the whole world is against him.  The entire section revolves around Jason’s attempt to right a perceived wrong; he believes that Caddy’s immoral actions cost him a good job, and as a result, Jason takes his revenge by stealing money that was meant for Caddy’s daughter, Quentin.  He considers Caddy responsible for the loss of a great job opportunity because of her indiscretion, and holds her accountable by hoarding the money that she sends for the support of her child.

Jason’s actions may seem more logical than those of his brothers; he is neither mentally handicapped like Benjy, nor is he irrationally distraught over Caddy’s mistakes like his older brother Quentin.  However, Jason is just as blind to his own actions as his siblings are.  Benjy’s mistakes can be forgiven due to his mental state, as can Quentin’s suicide.  Jason, on the other hand, has no one to blame but himself.  He doesn’t see that if it hadn’t been for Caddy, he never would have had the opportunity to work at the bank in the first place; it was because of Caddy that he could have gotten that job.  Instead, all Jason sees is the lost opportunity and what could have been.

The coup de grace comes at the very end of the section when Quentin steals all of her uncle’s hoarded money.  In a strange sense, she restored the balance by “stealing” money that was rightfully hers to begin with.

Published on May 4, 2009 at 6:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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