The Sound and the Fury

Faulkner's Tragic Focal Point in The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner presents the story of Caddy in The Sound and the Fury in a unique and precise way by showing how her family views her. Caddy's life becomes the central conflict in the lives of the Compsons, and her story, paralleled with the ultimate demise of the family and its members, is portrayed in the four separate narratives of the novel. While Caddy remains voiceless throughout the entirety of Faulkner's book, it is her absence that singularizes her importance in the novel and her brothers' obsession with her purity that reveal her character and her influence upon the decline of the Compson family.

Benjy's section, consisting mainly of childhood flashbacks, reveals Caddy's initial innocence. Benjy sees his sister as a living mother figure, and he always turns to her for comfort. He associates her with all the love and goodness that he has ever known. Benjy can "smell" Caddy's purity, which he associates with the clean, pure smell of trees. He becomes very upset when she seems unclean to him. For example, when Benjy catches Caddy and a boy kissing in the swing, he cries and pulls her away. He remembers, "Caddy took the kitchen soap and washed her mouth at the sink, hard. Caddy...

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