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Meg’s Formal Blog Post on the Sound and The Fury

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“She didn’t mean that that’s the way women do things it’s because she loves Caddy
The street lamps would go down the hill then rise toward town I walked upon the belly of my shadow. I could extend my hand beyond it.feeling Father behind me beyond the rasping darkness of summer and August the street lampsFather and I protect women from one another from themselves our women Women are like that they dont acquire knowledge of people we are for that they are just born with a practical fertility of suspicion that makes a crop every so often and usually right they have an affinity for evil for supplying whatever the evil lacks in itself for drawing it about them instinctively as you do bed-clothing in slumber fertilising the mind for it until the evil has served its purpose whether it ever existed or no”

In The Sound and the Fury, Quentin Compson acts as ‘other.’ Stuck in the old, formal ways of the South, he is unable to cope with the changing social views and moral decay around him. He is further complicated by his sister, Caddy, who, because her sexual promiscuity, is also unable to fit into the antiquated Southern world that he would like to keep. In this section of text, Quentin derisively splits the genders, forcing Caddy and women into an ‘other’ role by making the masculine dominant and the feminine submissive (and therefore, victimized). By identifying himself with men and alienating Caddy, Quentin is able to assume roles for both himself and Caddy that identify with an antiquated Southern viewpoint—he becomes martyr, and she victim of her own nature.

In this section, Quentin immediately begins placing himself above Caddy. He first begins separating the genders. The mother and Caddy have their own sentences, and are purely emotional. They deal with love. Furthermore, the sentence is an allowance; he and his Father are simply shrugging off the emotions of women. After these sentences come, “Father behind me” and “Father and I.” Both sentences are fairly physical. They designate their gendered roles—the men to “protect” and the women to be protected. Quentin further separates the genders by intellect. Men “acquire knowledge” and learn. Women, however, “are just born,” which implies animalization. Women merely react; they can’t help themselves. The several mentions of “fertility” also imply a naturalness that gives way to instinct. This allows Quentin to place Caddy in his world; women are weak and can be manipulated. They act on instinct and so if they have an “affinity for evil,” it makes sense that Caddy would be promiscuous, despite the fact that she should be an upstanding, moral, Southern Belle.

The dominance of the masculine is also stressed in this section because it is the masculine voice that the reader hears. Theirs are the opinions that are bestowed; Caddy and the other women are never allowed to speak for themselves, and so they seem further subjugated by their silence.

By making Caddy the ‘other’ in the section—making her a victim of her own evils, Quentin is able to give her a place within his world. All women are immoral. They are instinctual and it is up to the Southern gentleman to protect them from that. Furthermore, because Quentin is the other, stronger gender, that which is physical but intelligent, Quentin is also able to place himself within the old Southern world. He takes on the role of chivalric martyr. By accusing himself of incest, he protects Caddy from herself.

Written by Meg

October 15th, 2010 at 10:28 am