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Topic: The Sound and the Fury discussion--Parts Three and Four

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Subject: The Sound and the Fury discussion--Parts Three and Four
Date Posted: 4/1/2009 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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In this thread we'll discuss "April 6, 1928," narrated by Jason Compson, and "April 8, 1928," narrated by a conventional narrator, and talk about our general impressions/feelings about the book.

Some things to think about as you read:

Does Caddy appeal to you as a sympathetic character?

Why do Caddy's brothers each have a narrative voice, while Caddy has none?

How would you describe Jason's mode of thinking and reasoning? What is the effect of his narrative's mood and voice, following as it does upon Benjy's and Quentin's?

What role does Dilsey play in the novel? Why does the narrative of the fourth and final section focus upon her, and why do you think Faulkner chose not to give her a narrative in her own voice?

Which characters, if any, serve as registers of emotional and moral value? In whom do we find love, honor, loyalty, strength?

What did you take away from reading this story about the Compson family?



Last Edited on: 4/1/09 8:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/8/2009 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I just finished section three, and I'm kind of conflicted about it.  I enjoyed it the most of all the sections so far, and I enjoyed Jason as a narrator the most, but he's just so freakin' despicable.  Although, that may be the reason I enjoyed his narration.  He's one of those characters you love to hate.  There were moments when I felt sympathetic towards him, because he really did get screwed in a lot of ways, then he would say or do something so repugnant and I would just think "Ha ha, you deserve everything you get, you miserable jerk."  And I loved how, despite his disdain for Caddy and Miss Quentin and women in general, Jason's whole life was centered around them.  Practically every thought he has is about his mother or Quentin, and no matter how much he goes on about how he doesn't care what they say or do, all he ever does is react to them.

I also loved hating Mrs. Compson. What a self-centered hag. 



Last Edited on: 4/8/09 6:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/16/2009 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I just finished the Jason section.

 

I agree Vanessa, Jason is despicable! He is cunning also. That’s quite a scam he has going with the checks from Caddie for Quentin. If I calculated correctly he has scammed $35-40,000 from Quentin. In the process he obtained power of attorney for his mother saying he is depositing his wages in her account when he is really depositing the money for Quentin from Caddie and keeping his wages! Then, when he burned those show tickets in front of Luster . . . what a horrible man. Ironically, he is the only one of her (Mrs. Compson) children that she loves and she thinks he is wonderful!

 

Also, if I read it correctly, Jason is still mad at Caddie for not getting the job at the bank through Herbert but he would not even have been considered for the job if he wasn’t Caddie’s brother.

 

This section was much easier to read.

 

I wonder why Faulkner chose to portray Jason evil through and through without any redeeming qualities. I read a review that indicated Faulkner was likening Jason to the devil.

 

Date Posted: 4/16/2009 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I know, right, Jason's just so freakin creepy!  One of the things I really enjoyed about him as a villain is how even though he's scamming his mother and niece out of all that money, he's not doing it for the usual reasons.  Most people, if they were going to rob their own families of that kind of cash, would then disappear to live in luxury and enjoy it.  Jason never really enjoys the money as money, he just gets his kicks by making life that much more miserable for everyone else.  He's incapable of being really happy, and doesn't even seem to pursue happiness anymore, just tries to destroy any happiness others might have.  So yeah, I can definitely see parallels to the devil, he has got that kind of "better to reign in hell than serve in heaven" mindset.

Date Posted: 4/18/2009 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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Jason's definitely one of those characters you love to hate. All those smartass comments he made to everyone--it just made me want to reach into the book and smack him upside the head. He and his mom were really two peas in a pod...she made herself disagreeable in "female" ways (passive-aggressive, whining, ineffectual) and he was all male, confrontational, bluff, physically violent, threatening. No wonder he was her favorite child. It was sort of a back-and-forth between the two of them with their annoying comments through the whole section.

Jason never really enjoys the money as money, he just gets his kicks by making life that much more miserable for everyone else.  He's incapable of being really happy, and doesn't even seem to pursue happiness anymore, just tries to destroy any happiness others might have.

Ooh yeah, that's a perfect way to describe him! The scene where he held Caddy's baby up to the window for her to peek at and then took off--that made me feel queasy, that anyone could be so vindictive and get such a thrill from it.

Has anybody gotten to the last section yet? What do you think is the significance of most of the story taking place over Easter weekend?

Date Posted: 4/18/2009 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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The last section was a quick read. Mostly from Dilsey's POV. I love how she took Benjy to church and didn't care what others thought.

When Dilsey says "I've seen the first and the last, the beginning and the end" several times, did that mean Jason was dying? When he thought the guy had hit him and really he hadn't but Jason still felt a very bad pain in the back of his head . . . a precursor to his death?

How ironic that the family's longstanding servant, Dilsey, is the one holding together this once respectable, now self-destructing family. Dilsey has a strong code of ethics/morals and the Compson's did not. Her family is holding together well and the Compson's are not.

What do you think is the significance of most of the story taking place over Easter weekend?

I've seen references likening Benjy to the Christ figure because he is 33 (same age as Christ when he died) and celibate. Also, he does not commit any evil or immoral acts. I don't really agree with this association.

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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I enjoyed these sections of the book much more then the beginning. I was disturbed by Jason. The idea of comparing Benjy to Christ seems far fetched to me. I also found it ironic that in the end all that is keeping the family together is the help.