Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why I Enjoyed As I Lay Dying More than The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the FuryAfter powering through the second half of The Sound and the Fury, I finished somewhat confused and unsettled. Benjy and Quentin had incredibly difficult sections to work through, and it was pretty difficult to know what was going on through most of it. After reading some helpful summaries online after I finished each section, the missing pieces were filled in, luckily. Jason's narrative, although a welcome relief from the disjointed streams of consciousness of Benjy and Quentin, was unnerving. When you read, it is a time to embody another character's worldview: to see themselves and the world around them in the unique way that they do. Jason was an awful man, and seeing his hateful views on the family members I liked was unsettling when it came to the end. Jason goes on a hunt to kill Miss Quentin, and hurts Luster and Benjy in the process, completely absorbed in his own selfishness. Yet, nothing really happens to Jason in the end, there is no justice served for how terribly he treats his family, unless you count the tragedy of his life beforehand.

Dilsey was a fantastic character, she is the antithesis of Jason in that she is loving and selfless; she is the only mother that Benjy and the Compson children truly have. My favorite part of the book, in fact, is when she proudly takes Benjy to church with her and states that God loves him as much as anyone else in the world. I enjoyed Caddy's character probably as much as Jason despised it, and I also was fascinated by Quentin- I had never read a character like his before.

The family dynamics in both The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying are what I enjoyed the most about both novels. It was interesting to see the similarities- each book about three brothers, both mother's in the novels had a special love for the son that treated them the worst, and each of their daughters were promiscuous and had an unwanted pregnancy. I also love how Faulkner sets his characters in the same town, so when I first read Anse's character in The Sound and the Fury I was sort of mind-blown.

Overall, I liked As I Lay Dying more because I thought the relationships in this novel were more interesting and intricate; I felt like there was more to each one of their stories. The Sound and the Fury primarily dealt with each sibling's relationship with their sister- Benjy's longing, Quentin's distress and possibly incestuous desire, and Jason's raging hatred. As I Lay Dying explored the ideas and ethics of Darl's insane actions and state of mind, if he was truly insane at all. The novel shed light on Jewel's character, who was seen as spiteful and harsh but in actuality cared deeply for his family. Cash, well, he is just my favorite character ever, so I'm very biased on him. All of these reasons and intricacies Faulkner laid out in As I Lay Dying, along with Addie's unique, mothering figure that touched each of her family members lives in an enormous way, were just something that I found unmatched in The Sound and the Fury. 


  1. do you think the quote from Macbeth fits this book as well as "as I lay dying" from the Odyssey fit AILD?

    1. I think that Benjy's starting narrative is the best representation of "the sound and the fury," because he has the unique ability to recognize and express the order of the book compared to it's chaos. He cries because he knows that Caddy has changed because she no longer smells like trees, and he whimpers when Luster changes course on the road. When Luster sets back to the normal course after encountering Jason at the end of the novel, Benjy only stops when the order comes back-maybe Faulkner symbolizing some hope and redemption starting that Easter for their futures. I think the title works perfectly here.

      But now I have to counter question- "AS I LAY DYING" IS A QUOTE FROM THE ODYSSEY???

    2. "But now I have to counter question- "AS I LAY DYING" IS A QUOTE FROM THE ODYSSEY???"
      => Yeah, according to wikipedia, the title comes from "The Odyssey", wherein Agamemnon speaks to Odysseus: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."
      Anyway, I just came across your blog whilst searching for some stuff. I'm reading "The sound and the fury" at the moment, Quentin's part to be specific, but I'll probably prefer "As I lay dying", like you.