A Psychoanalytic Approach to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury

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A Psychoanalytic Approach to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury In Faulkner's work, The Sound and the Fury, Caddy is never given an interior monologue of her own; she is seen only through the gaze of her brothers, and even then only in retreat, standing in doorways, running, vanishing, forever elusive, forever just out of reach. Caddy seems, then, to be simultaneously absent and present; with her, Faulkner evokes an absent presence, or the absent center of the novel, as André Bleikasten and John T. Matthews have observed. The "absent center" is a key term in Lacanian theory, and in order to understand how Caddy's absence, or repression, supports the masculine identity, we'll have to review some Lacanian theory.…show more content…
The child leaves behind a state of no difference or lacks and enters the symbolic order which is simultaneously the prohibition of incest with the mother and the sign system that depends on the referent. One becomes a speaking subject, then, only through a rupture, and only by creating a vacuum where once there was plentitude and presence. Lacan can say the subject that which it is not, or, to rephrase Lacan, the subject exists as a consequence of loss, the loss of the whole from which it arises. And the whole in relation to which the subject is lacking has its basis in what Freud calls "the phallic mother." The "whole " is the relationship with the preoedipal mother. Paradoxically, however, even as women represent the whole they also represent lack because the whole with which they are identified threatens to engulf and dissolve identity. In William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, Jason and Quentin experience this lack and "a sense of diminishment" which they project onto the women around them. Caddy becomes the site of their lack and represents their sense of castration. She embodies the return of the repressed. Jason and Quentin want to attain union with Caddy to return to that original "whole" but they push her away too so they can separate the

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