So why, of all things did I name my blog after a character from The Sound and The Fury?
Well, several reasons.
Namely, in my opinion, Faulkner is one of the most important examples of Southern Gothic Literature. Please, for the love of god, stop reading Gone with The Wind- not only because it’s shit and racist (it is) but also because it is simply not useful in terms of Literary Analysis. There’s nothing to gain from studying it as a text. The Sound and The Fury is a critique of Southern Society, not a love letter. It’s a great jumping off point for texts which delve more critically into racism, slavery and colonialism. Faulker also does a rollicking good stream of consciousness- Benji’s section is one of the finest in the genre. If you were doing a reading list entirely devoted to famous novels*** and their deconstructions of them, it would go like- Gone With The Wind ****- The Sound and The Fury- Jane Eyre-Wide Sargasso Sea-Villette- Lucy
***The writing in Jane Eyre was not shit, but Charlotte Bronte could do better and she knew it. Villette is an absolute tour-de force.
****Man, fuck Scarlett. I particularly loathe when liberals are like *she was so strong!!’ no mate, she owned slaves. They do 99 percent of the work in GWTW.
I had a pretty standard interpretation of The Sound and The Fury until I read this article and I was like holy shit. Because it changed my view of the text entirely and I know it has done the same for some others as well. Because of Course. The Dialogue about this novel has always been did they do incest or did they not do incest. Not ‘are there reasons that people would suspect them of having committed incest’ to which the answer is yes. Theoretically, if I was going to abandon all semblance of reason and say yes, they committed physical incest (which I don’t, see below for reasons) then I would be like.. well there’s a baby.. Quentin’s a sensitive sort of person.. and he definitely knows about the pregnancy… so??
I’ve been watching Taboo, which is all sorts of problematic but has a bafflingly meh attitude towards the incest between a brother and sister, and I suspect Faulkner has the same attitude. That said I think no physical incest took place for pragmatic reasons, Quentin was scared, Caddy wasn’t quite sure, etc etc. The weakest link in the theory that Quentin’s attraction to his sister wasn’t mutual, IMO, is the textual evidence. After the extremely sexually charged scene in the river, we get a flashback to immediately afterwards
‘Come here Quentin
I went back she touched my shoulder leaning down
her shadow the blur of her face leaning down
from the high shadow I went back’
and then later
‘yes I will if you want me to I will‘
So they’ve just had a bit together which they seem to acknowledge is inappropriate, and Quentin’s most burning memory is her touching him, and a line (suspiciously out of context) that seems to acknowledge her affirmation? that seems to be, if not an implicit acknowledgement that the attraction is mutual, then at the very least an indication that their behavior went further than Quentin wants to remember. Considering that Quentin’s favourite past-time is dwelling on things that hurt him and make him unhappy, I can only imagine the context that was left out.
So that’s why I named this blog after Caddy. Because she isn’t just misrepresented by the characters in the work itself, but also by writers and academics who pretty blatantly feel queasy at all those implications. I do wonder though why it is considered more palatable if the obsessive attraction was one sided; like an infatuation and an obsession with his sister sexually is AOK provided Caddy doesn’t feel the same way?
It is certainly something to consider.