The Main Character of the Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury is a unique novel in that it exhibits a inside view of multiple characters that all form a separate opinion over one centralized persons. These chapters and perspectives allow the audience to make their own judgement over Caddy Compson, a young woman who seems to have every characters attention even Jason’s throughout each chapters timelines. Caddy’s three brothers each have their own chapter which display similar and vastly different ideas about Caddy. The difference of views comes from each brothers different intelligence levels and personalities. This absence of Caddy’s own section impels the reader to form their own opinion of Caddy. Plentiful times throughout each chapter the memories or ‘reflections’ offer a deeper look into Caddy as well as the brother who is reflecting. All three brothers seemed to be agitated in a way by just the memory of Caddy and this is a majority of the novel’s story line. Though overall Faulkner tips towards displaying a Caddy that the reader can get behind as a ‘’good’’ character. Faulkner leaves out a section in The Sound and the Fury for Caddy so that the reader can form their own opinion on the books central character.
In Benjy’s section from the start it can be observed easily how Caddy is seen as a motherly and caring sister to him. Benjy is overlooked, not given attention he needs, and sometimes mistreated in this family. Though Caddy tries to help Benjy, watch over him, and try to comprehend his mental state. The reader can see multiple examples within the first twenty pages of the novel of Caddy’s understanding to what Benjy is thinking, “‘Hush now.’ she said. ‘I’m not going to run away.’” (Faulkner 19). Caddy’s motherly figure shows as well in many small but impactful ways to Benjy and his memories like when she warns him to keep his hands warm, “ Keep your hands in your pockets, Caddy said. Or they’ll get froze. You don’t want your hands froze on Christmas, do you.” (Faulkner 4-5). Caddy can be seen as a very likable and good person right off the bat in Faulkner’s complex novel. Painting an image of an innocent, loving, and caring Caddy is what is set up for the readers image before going into her tragic young adult life narrated in Quentin and Jason’s chapters.
On to Quentin’s side of the story, the reader is confronted by the ‘dark’ side to Caddy and her relationship with boys and her brother. This section also takes a liking to Benjy’s in that they share a similar obsession for Caddy though a intelligent version if Benjy had mental capacity to explain his emotions. Quentin’s chapter starts off at Harvard and him having flashbacks about confessing to his father that it was him not Dalton Ames who took Caddy’s virginity, along with other memories regarding Caddy. It is here where the reader starts to learn about Dalton Ames and Quentin’s madness over seeing Caddy’s innocence slip away. Quentin reflects on Dalton Ames and how Caddy would never bring boys home, “ Why won’t you bring him to the house, Caddy? Why must you do like nigger women do in the pasture the ditches the dark woods hot hidden furious in the dark woods.’’ (Faulkner 92) Quentin is very old fashioned and tries so hard to be chivalrous this leads him to portray Caddy as a glorified whore for her having these promiscuous desires without being married. He also is so tormented by the idea of Caddy having sex with anyone he tells the reader how he confesses to his father, “ I have committed incest I said Father it was I it was not Dalton Ames” (Faulkner 79). Throughout all of this chapter the torment that Quentin is going through fantisizing over Caddy’s sexaulity starts to build up increasingly leading to his suicide. The reader at this point can now see how big of a focus Caddy is at this point. She starts out as just a caring sister to her mentally impaired brother, to a crazed obsession and idea of what could be to Quentin.
In the third and last chapter of the brother narratives Jason states his tone of how he feels about not just Miss Quentin who he’s talking about but as well as Caddy, “ Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say.” (Faulkner 180). Jason constantly caps on why Quentin is one the reasons for why the Compsons look bad, but also talks down on Caddy. In this chapter the reader starts to see the effects of Caddy’s youth and carelessness with promiscuity. The indirect talk towards Caddy is also negative during this entire chapter by Mothers conversations that Jason hears, “looking at Quentin. ‘ You will never know the suffering you’ve caused.’ ” ( Faulkner 199). Jason picks up on this and is now used to associating the families problems back to Caddy having a baby. This belief makes Jason feel like he’s mother’s favorite and that the way he acts is permissible. Caddy is also depicted as a source of money for Jason as he revealed to mother how he would steal off checks from her, along with showing a glimpse of Quentin to Caddy for one-hundred dollars. Jason feels Caddy is the source of not only his problems but the family’s problems as well.
Throughout the Novel Caddy is can be recognized as the leading role. The reader sees every side to Caddy but her own, which presses the question of how to truly view this character in a moral sense. Caddy can be viewed as caring and loving from the side of Benjy who can only explain what Caddy is from a standpoint of what she is for him. Quentin familiarizes Caddy similar to Benjy except he kills himself over the torment she has created in his life over the fact that she is the ‘family whore’, which he can’t live with. Finally Jason shows the reader why Caddy is nothing but a bitch that has ruined his life and his family’s reputation. All of these interpretations of Caddy Compson can be true, leaving the reader to only speculate onto what about Caddy is true. Faulkner intentionally wrote The Sound and the Fury like this because he believed that all the other characters were below her and she didn’t need an explanation to what was going on in her head. The reader is supposed to form their own opinion on Caddy leading them to think that instead of her being a character that was everything wrong, that she is in fact everything that is right and has wholesome intentions.
- The Varying Perspectives of Caddy Compson. LiteratureEssaySamples, 17 Apr. 2018, https://literatureessaysamples.com/. Accessed 18 February 2019.
- Watson, Leona. Candace ‘Caddy’ Compson. Just Great DataBase. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2019.
- Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. Vintage International, 1990.
- McDonald, Melissa. A Character Description of Caddy in The Sound and the Fury. What Students Learn From Dissecting a Cow’s Eye | Education – Seattle PI. N.p., 21 Nov. 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2019.
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