The Plot

The Plot of William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury in the beginning seems very unclear to its readers but as the book continues, the plot unfolds and the arrangement of events get easier to understand.

To begin, the story and the plot are two different parts of the novel. To most people, the story and the plot share the same meaning, but the story refers to the events that occurred in real time, while the plot is the order of events in which the narrator used as an artistic way of describing the novel. The novel is told in four different viewpoints.

The novel is told by three brothers of the Compson family and an omniscient narrator. The first section is told by mentally handicapped man, Benjy, the second by Harvard student, Quentin, the third by the hard-working, bitter, and money-obsessed, Jason. The fourth section is told by an omniscient narrator. The Benjy section is arranged in a jumbled fashion between past and present, leaving the reader to determinedly focus on what the narrator is describing to fully understand what is really happening.  The Quentin section is a little more orderly but still confusing in some areas and as the reader gets to the Jason section, chronologically, it is easier to understand the order of events. By the time the reader gets to the very last section, the story falls into place. There is a reason for this style of storytelling that will be explained on the next page.

The story or the chronological order of events, get confusing, so to start off, here is the order of events as they truly happened:

1890: Quentin born.
1892: Caddy born
1894: Jason born
1895: April 7, Benjy born.
1898: Damuddy’s funeral. Caddy in the pear tree with her muddy drawers.
1900: Benjy’s name is changed.
1900-01: Natalie episode.
1906: Caddy in swing with Charlie. Episode with Benjy and Caddy and the use of perfume.
1908: Benjy, now 13, must sleep alone. “You too big to sleep with folks.”
December 23: Uncle Maury – Mrs. Patterson affair. Benjy and Caddy deliver a message to Mrs. Patterson which is intercepted by Mr. Patterson. Uncle Maury appears with a black eye and a bloody mouth.

1909: Caddy loses virginity. Benjy’s knowing.
Fall: Quentin enters Harvard.
1910: April 25: Caddy’s wedding. Benjy and T.P. drunk.
April- May: Benjy at the gate. He attacks the Burgess girl and is castrated.
June 2 : Quentin’s suicide.
1911: Quentin’s birth ( Caddy’s daughter)
1912: Death of Mr. Compson. Dan howling.
1912-1914: Trips to cemetery begin. T.P. driving carriage with Mrs. Compson, Benjy.
1915: Roskus dies. Luster sees his ghost.
1928: April 6-8: Time present. Golfers, the lost quarter, Benjy’s birthday.
April 6: “Jason’s section,” Quentin runs away with Jason’s money, April 8: “Dilsey’s section”.

Published on March 24, 2009 at 12:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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