Unresolved Problems Leads to Fury in the Heart

March 21, 2019 by Essay Writer

There is no such thing as a perfect family, or a perfect person for that matter, but the Compson family from Toni Morrison’s The Sound and the Fury has endless problems. The Compson’s situation becomes so tragic that it leads to anger, remorse, animosity, and even death because instead of joining together to prevent the problems from growing, they blame each other for causing them. It is impossible to say exactly where the Compson’s go wrong in their pursuit of a content and healthy family. However, it is safe to say that each family member builds on the mistakes or misfortunes of others, causing terminal problems for the family as a whole. Benjy is the most innocent character in The Sound and the Fury because of his mental state. At one point Benjy is described as a being, “three years old thirty years,” and because he is disabled, he clearly does not have the same psychological capacity as the other characters (17). Benjy is the only character that does not make any mistakes in this book; he does exactly what he is capable of. However, his misfortune as a disabled man is one of the primary problems for the Compson family. Benjy is as dependent on his family members in adulthood as a baby or child would be. He cannot be alone and does not even sleep in a bed by himself until he is thirteen years old. Morrison gives us the impression that Benjy is very immature from the very first page when Luster is frustrated with him for “moaning,” which is only the first of numerous times a character feels the irritation and burden of Benjy on their shoulders and in their lives (3).Benjy’s parents, mainly Caroline, his mother, feel the weight of Benjy more than any other characters. Caroline treats Benjy as though it is his fault that he is disabled and needs special attention at all times. Once Benjy’s mental state becomes apparent enough for people in the town to start noticing, she even changes his name from Maury to Benjy to try and save the family name. Caroline speaks of Benjy as though he is some kind of death sentence and begins the process of moving out of her children’s lives because of the “judgment” he is on her life (12). One of the most detrimental mistakes made in this entire book is Caroline’s choice to abandon her motherhood. Caroline is not the only parent at fault, but her choices seem crueler than that of her husband’s. Jason Sr. is an alcoholic, so he has a very limited ability to be there for his children up until he dies in 1912, and because Caroline is so depressed and ashamed of Benjy she ends up letting her children grow up on their own, leaving Dilsey as the only mother figure for them. Though Dilsey is very caring to the children, they need their parents to teach them guidelines and show them love, which is the main reason Caddy ends up making a mistake that affects the family tremendously. Caddy is one of the most caring Compson family members and treats Benjy with love and genuine patience. However, her lack of parental guidelines and love leads her to get pregnant out of wedlock, which costs the family their reputation, and causes her divorce from her husband, a banker that was going to get her brother Jason a job. Because of this, Caddy is blamed for the fall of the Compson family because just when Jason was going to get back on his feet with the new job he was expecting, her mistake ruined his chance. Though Caddy is a young woman when she makes the decision to have unprotected sex out of marriage, it is probable that with more guidance from her mother, she would have known better than to put this burden on her family. Furthermore, when young women seek out sex and practice it unsafely it is usually because they are lacking emotional love at home. Though Caddy was always giving love to her family members, she was not always receiving love, in turn causing her to seek alternative fulfillment. Quentin, who Caddy was very close to growing up, rejects ever having a sister; her mistake affects him more than any other member of the Compson family. Once Caddy defies the family, Quentin’s mind starts spinning and he denies he ever had a sister, “No sister no sister had no sister,” he tells himself (95). Obviously, Quentin is deeply hurt by his sister’s choices, but this is not the only reason the pressure in his life leads him to commit suicide. Quentin is sent to Harvard with money the family received by selling some of their property. He is expected to lead the family, to make something of them, and to salvage the Compson name. However, one of the Compson children is again paying the price for their parents’ lack of direction. Quentin yearns for the mother he never had, “If I could say Mother. Mother,” he so badly needs her love and support. Therefore, when Caddy, who was the only family member giving him a will to live, hurts him and his family, he is not strong enough to pull himself out of the pain and downward spiral that ultimately leads him to his death. With Quentin’s death comes more pain and anger in the Compson family, because now, Jason feels as though Caddy and Quentin both have robbed him of his chances of success.Jason is the bitterest member of the Compson family. When Caddy ends up not being able to care for Quentin, her daughter, she brings her home to her mother and Dilsey, but Jason ends up being one of her main guardians. Quentin is an added burden to Jason. Now, Jason feels as though Quentin and Caddy are to blame for all of the Compson’s problems explaining that Quentin is “the bitch that cost me a job, the one chance I ever had to get ahead, that killed my father and is shortening my mother’s life every day and made my name a laughing stock in the town,” (304). Jason is also extremely bitter because of the wasted money the family spent on Quentin (Jason’s brother) to go to Harvard. In the middle of a heated conversation with Jason’s mother about Caddy’s daughter, out of nowhere Jason mentions that he, “never had time to go to Harvard,” because he claims he, “had to go to work,” (181). It is clear that Jason is extremely bitter at Caddy for putting these burdens on the family and at his brother, Quentin, for wasting Jason’s only chance to make something of himself at Harvard. Now, Jason is left sour with disappointment, which in turn, is ruining baby Quentin’s life because he is taking all of his anger out on her. Baby Quentin becomes a rebellious and out of control teenager and starts to distance herself from the family, similar to her mother. She starts missing school, spending time with boys, and even runs away, because of her lack of love and support at home. The vicious cycle of bitterness, anger, and shame continues to spread through the family like a disease that eventually ruins the life of each member.The Sound and The Fury, by Toni Morrison, is a sad story about a family that allows their problems to lead them to a painful and never-ending cycle of pain. Benjy’s psychological disabilities led his mother to turning her back on her children, while Jason Sr. becomes an alcoholic. Caddy’s lack of love and attention from her parents leads her to misguided decisions that costs her family their reputation. Caddy’s choices and Quentin’s lack of support from his parents leads him to suicide. All of these things lead Jason to live in a world of anger and bitterness that he takes out on the next generation of the Compson family, via Caddy’s daughter, Quentin. Whether the main problem was Benjy’s disabilities, the lack of parenting, Caddy’s pregnancy and divorce, Quentin’s suicide, or Jason’s bitterness, all of these issues build upon each other to create the ultimate Compson family fall. It is clear that instead of focusing on the issues at hand and supporting each other with love, the Compson’s are unfortunately unwilling, unable, or unprepared to mend the broken bonds between them.

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