A Bakhtinian Reading of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

Sahar Al-Keshwan

Abstract


This paper tries to analyze the language and the dialogue between characters in William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury and its conflict with the reality of the author. The tradition of the Compson family implies duality in this novel. Except Dilsey, the corrupted aristocratic values in the Compson family reflect the author’s “dramatization of what he understood as a reality” (1). Faulkner is aware of the corrupted traditions that the family adopt, yet this awareness failed to convey his real narrative voice. This contradiction identifies “the conflict between the autonomy of the artist and his immersion in the history” (1). This conflict is revealed in Faulkner’s characters in their struggle between order and chaos, and resurrection and renewal. Each one of this family defines the chaos in different way. For instance, Quentin relies on his old tradition to provide order; Jason attempts to use the old tradition for his personal gain; Benjy also attempts to rely on his old traditions, but he becomes upset when he fails in providing this order. The only person who represents the real aim of the author is Dilsey. Dilsey wants to renew the old values by relying on love, faith, and hard work. Yet, Faulkner does not focus on specific perspective. He uses different perspectives and narratives and that creates difficulty in conveying Faulkner’s real voice. The Sound and The Fury may be represented as an important novel in exploring the old Christian traditions and the aristocratic values, the modern society that adopt these values, and the real aim of the author in leaving these values and renew them. The result as Bakhtin argues that basic reality of this conflict could be found in the author’s character rather than the speech and the discourse of the other character.

Keywords: William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, Polyglossia, Heteroglossia, Chronotope, Mikhail Mickheilovich Bakhtin


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References


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