The Sound and the Fury - Faulkner

Anyone read it?

The cover proclaims it to be “One of the greastest novels of the twentieth century”.

Mmmm. I have to say that from the first page I trudged through it. Faulkner uses stream-of-conciousness style writing throughout this novel. I have read this kind of work before; most noticeably Hubert Selby Jr. and of course Miller. I enjoyed and undertood their work. Except may “Opus pistorum”…mmm, another time.

I didn’t have a problem with the style it was lack of interest which irritated me. The first chapter is a confusing mess of ideas (and I think dates and events). I had no idea who the characters were supposed to be; they were never really intoduced. Then the novel seems to realx into a more conventional prose style in the first person, where a university student describes events and seems to get invovled with some intersting people. The last portion of the book is centred on the family house, Jason and the robbery by his niece.

I just don’t get it.

The sound= the ticking of the pocket watch?
The fury=Jason’s carachter?

I really dislike the way he wrote the dialogue between two negros “I is gowin inta towin”. Very, very irritating to read. I understand that he was trying to portray characters, but it is over the top.

As for Mother, what’s up with her? She is never introduced, we never hear of her illness and she doesn’t go out of the house.

Somebody please explain this supposedly great novel to me. It was a relief to finish it today.


Good for you for reading that on your own. :bravo:

I took a course on Faulkner in college and we read 7 or 8 of his novels (including The Sound and the Fury, of course) and a bunch of short stories.

As you know, Faulkner writes surely the longest sentences of any great writer in English. Many of his sentences are more than a page long and if any of us were editing his work we would largely conclude that he is hopeless. Nonetheless he won a Nobel Prize and is considered one of America’s greatest writers and S&F is considered one of his greatest works.

In addition to the long sentences, another thing that makes S&F so difficult is that it is written from the viewpoint of several different characters, including one who is retarded. If I recall correctly, the retarded character starts off the novel, so one is confused right off the bat, but I believe his telling of the story from those various diverse viewpoints is part of why it is considered great. Also, I believe it is sort of a giant, epic, dark tale of a fallen Southern family, like all of Faulkner’s work, which is also why it is considered great. It’s not some little story; it’s like a Greek tragedy.

I’m glad I took that course. I appreciated being exposed to his work and probably would never have read his novels on my own. They are grand and interesting stories, unlike those told by anyone else. But, to be honest, I’d rather breeze through a Hemingway novel (about as opposite as you can get to Faulkner), or something light, easy and modern. Bear in mind that Faulkner was from the Deep South and was writing in the 20’s and 30’s, far removed from the world most of us know today.

Anyway, maybe Faulkner said it best in the S&F when he called it a

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]
Anyway, maybe Faulkner said it best in the S&F when he called it a

I realize it came from Macbeth originally, but it’s very fitting in the Sound and the Fury.

Erm. Ergo, the title.


MT, did you ever get frustrated with him though? Many times I said to myself, “Get get on with the story.”

I think you hit the nail on the head with “signifying nothing”

Would you suggest any other of his novels for someone who disliked this one so much? Perhaps this is worth keeping on the shelf and returning to in a few years.



If you want to continue with Faulkner, you could try Light in August. It’s much more readable than S&F.

This one has put me off, but perhaps if I see it in a second hand shop I’ll give it a try. Cheers. What’s your impression of S&F?


I don’t remember much difference between his novels. I read them 20 years ago, but my recollection is they are all very long, dark, difficult and similar convulated tales of screwed-up Southerners who still haven’t recovered from the Civil War. The main difference I remember from the course I took was enjoying when we were reading the shorter novels, because we would get through them faster. I’ve forgotten which are his shortest novels.

But, his short story “Barn Burning” is one of my favorites: the tale of a screwed up, bitter man, who whenever things go wrong, get’s pissed off, takes revenge by burning down the offender’s barn, forcing his family to hit the road again and move on to the next town. I guess I liked that story because it reminds me of an earlier stage in my life. :wink:

Here’s that story online: … _text.html

Oh, I can’t deicde what to read next. I’ve got Norweigian wood - Murakami a Nabokov :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: or Auster. I need some light relief after that. I’ll probably be that old pervert Nab.

Thanks for the link MT. I’ll have a read.