The Sound And The Fury As A Modernism

Satisfactory Essays

Although Caddy Compson never narrates in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, her overwhelming presence in her brother’s lives emphasizes the idea that she is the missing center of the novel. As Harold Bloom states, “Caddy is not a character but an idea, an obsession in the minds of her brothers.” Benjy, Quentin, and Jason constantly think of Caddy and her influence on each of their lives—in both positive and negative ways. Different accounts of Caddy’s life are provided; however, Faulkner never clarifies the truth of Caddy Compson. In this novel, Caddy’s centrality in each of her brothers lives contributes to the chaos of the Compson family as she sexually matures. Faulkner creates a modernist novel by leaving the audience questioning …show more content…

The downfall of the Compson family is mainly due to Caddy’s absence. Caddy is not there to act as the mother in place of the neglectful and self-pitying Mrs. Compson. Caddy “motivates nearly all the action of the novel,” but when Caddy matures physically, emotionally, and sexually, her brothers experience a “keen sense of loss,” and chaos ensues (Wagner). Faulkner illustrates Caddy’s importance to Benjy in the first passage of the novel when Benjy hears the golfers saying “Here, caddie” (Faulkner 3). Benjy bellows at the mention of Caddy’s name, which is when “his own sound begins” (Wagner). Caddy gives Benjy a voice and teaches him language. She knows Benjy better than anyone else and she can translate his undefined noises into comprehensible emotions and language. Caddy is the main focus of Benjy’s entire life—she is the only one who treats him like an actual human. Mrs. Compson, Quentin, Jason, and Luster treat Benjy as if he is a “poor baby;” yet, Caddy gives Benjy a purpose (Faulkner 8). Caddy acts as an innocent and loving presence in Benjy’s life, shown when she says: “You’ve got your Caddy. Haven’t you got your Caddy?” (8). Mrs. Compson fails as a mother and caregiver to Benjy, so Caddy devotes herself to her brother. Caddy, however, cannot stay young forever, and the innocent, outdoor smell that becomes the focus of Benjy’s life is subject to change as Caddy matures. Benjy’s world is “punctured by loss” when the smell of trees

Get Access