Time in the Sound and the Fury Essay

1036 Words May 16th, 2000 5 Pages

One of the main realities of human existence is the constant, unceasing passage of time. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner explores this reality of time in many new and unexpected ways as he tells the tragic tail of the Compson family. The Compsons are an old Southern aristocratic family to whom time has not been kind. Years of degeneration mainly stemming from slavery have brought them to the brink of destruction. Most of the story focuses on the Compson children who are undergoing the worst of the social and moral decay. Each of the four children perceives time in a much different way but by far the strangest and most bizarre attitude toward time that is given in the text is held by
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But what is Faulkner trying so say with these unusual pictures of time? His work The Sound and the Fury is actually a micro view of the South itself. The Compson family and particularly the Compson children are all slowly falling apart. Faulkner uses this to symbolically show how the old-style Southern aristocracy from the turn of the twentieth century was in a major decline. The Quentin section most poignantly illustrates this point because the result of this decay literally destroys him in the end. The cause of this decay is clearly slavery, but the implications of this decay from slavery are much farther reaching than merely the Southern aristocracy. Many people believe that slavery instantaneously ended with the Civil War but this is not correct. Continuing to this day there are still remnants and scars left over from that terrible institution. In the text the most obvious remnants of slavery were the Compson's primitive black servants who were quite obviously the posterity of the black slaves once owned by the family. Just as Quentin idealized the past some Southerners have this picture of the old South as a wonderful and glorious place. They romanticize about it and even wish to stop time in order to return to the past much as Quentin wished to do. Sadly, like Quentin, their views of the past and time are terribly distorted. They are unable to remember the horrors of the past that were characterized by Southern slavery. The

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