Analysis Of ' The Sound And The Fury '

2069 Words9 Pages
njy’s Bellow
`It is often said that one “should not judge a book by its cover”. As one reads The Sound and the Fury, which is set in the post-civil war South and portrays the decline of the aristocratic Compson family’s wealth and the corruption of their Southern values of honor, chivalry, “purity” of women, and family reputation, one notices that the character of mentally handicapped Benjy Compson is presented as that of an “idiot” and “slobbering looney” who moves “with a shambling gait like a trained bear” (179), and moans/bellows “inexplicably” at inopportune times. However, on closely examining the situations when Benjy appears to be agitated and moaning, a pattern emerges whereby it is clear that he has detected that something untoward is happening (or has happened), that is putting his family (and his sense of order and security) in disarray. While on the surface Faulkner portrays Benjy as an “idiot”/bellowing “man-child”, it is Benjy who actually first perceives the disorder and decay of moral values in his family, and it is actually the rest of his family who are maladjusted and too self-absorbed to notice the corruption of their Southern values and fragmentation of their family, underscoring Faulkner’s articulation of Modernist beliefs that sensory perception and experience are more powerful than intellect in understanding reality, and that virtue is present in those who are often considered “savage” or primitive idiots.
Although Benjy appears unaware of Time and
Get Access