Lecture 6 - Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014, recorded: September 2011, views: 1597
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Professor Wai Chee Dimock begins her discussion of The Sound and the Fury by presenting Faulkner’s main sources for the novel, including Act V, Scene 5 of Macbeth and theories of mental deficiency elaborated by John Locke and Henry Goddard. Her main focus is on the experimental subjectivity of the novel’s first section which is narrated by Benjy Compson, a mentally retarded 33 year old who is completely innocent of his family’s decline and fall in 1920s Jefferson, Mississippi. Professor Dimock traces Benjy’s preoccupation with his sister Caddy and her sexual innocence through his sense of smell, and the repeated phrase “Caddy smelled like trees.” She concludes by observing that Faulkner protects Benjy from the loss of Caddy by allowing him to move seamlessly between the present and the past, shielding him in his own memories.
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