William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury (1929)


Born September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi to a well-known Southern family

Created a fictional Southern county (Yoknapatawpha) which served as the setting for many of his novels.

His novels present the deterioration of the South and its aristocratic families.

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

Died July 6, 1962 in Byhalia, Mississippi

Titles and other themes (time, death, narration, nothingness) taken from Macbeth:

 "She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-27)



Part One: April 1928 – Narrated by Benji, aged 33

Part Two: June 1910 – narrated by Quentin, aged 19

Part Three: April 1928 – narrated by Jason, aged 34

Part Four: April 1928 – Faulkner’s narrative voice as third person narrator focused on Dilsey

1898 – Damuddy (grandmother) dies (Benji 3, Jason 4, Caddy 6, Quentin 7)

1900 – Benjy’s name changes from Maury to Benjamin (age 5)

1909 – Caddy (17) becomes pregnant, Quentin (18) leaves for Harvard

1910 – Caddy’s marriage and divorce

1912 – Mr. Compson dies of alcoholism



Jason & Caroline Compson

Children: Quentin, Caddy, Jason, Benji

Damuddy: their grandmother

Uncle Maury, brother to Caroline, has an affair with Mrs. Patterson

Mr. & Mrs. Patterson, neighbors

Dilsey: cook

Roskus: servant, Dilsey’s husband


Versh, Dilsey’s son, cares for Benji the child

T.P., Dilsey’s son, cares for Benji the teenager

Luster, Dilsey’s grandson, cares for Benji the adult