The Sound and the Fury

The Importance of Time in The Sound and the Fury. College

In Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury[1], time and the past appear as crucial but complex themes. As a novel constructed around past events which have taken place before the time of narration, the past seems to be very much alive within the narration of the three Compson brothers. However, beneath the surface there is a contrasting sense of the futility of this connection with the past, along with the notion that time waits for no man, leaving those caught up in the past behind. Faulkner’s use of a stream of consciousness narrative style allows the passing of time to be expressed differently across the four sections of the novel, suggesting that, although physical time may wait for no man, there is perhaps another sort of time which is experienced differently for each individual.

On the surface, The Sound and the Fury appears to revolve around the very notion that the past is neither dead nor past, as the plot is driven entirely by events which took place years prior. For the most part, the present exists solely as a product of a past which the characters either cannot, or will not, leave behind. John-Paul Sartre outlines this notion in his essay “On The Sound and The Fury. Time in Work of Faulkner”. In it, he suggests...

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