The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury Summary

April Seventh, 1928: Benjy accompanies Luster as he searches for a quarter to go to the circus that night. At the same time he relives memories of his youth, most of which have to do with Caddy. He remembers, for example, the night his grandmother (Damuddy) died, when Caddy climbed a tree to look in the parlor windows, showing her siblings her muddy drawers. He also remembers her precocious sexuality, which led to her pregnancy and marriage, taking her out of his life. He can smell the change in Caddy; when she is young and pure she smells like trees to him, and when she begins to have sex she no longer smells like trees. He has a specific order to the day's events, and when Luster interrupts this order, he howls.

June Second, 1910: this section follows the events of the last day of Quentin's life, as he makes meticulous preparations for his suicide. He puts on clean clothes and packs all his belongings, then buys two flat irons to weight himself down with and heads out of town (he is attending Harvard at the time). He arrives in a little riverside town and meets up with a small immigrant girl, who follows him around until her brother finds them and accuses him of kidnapping her. He also runs into his friends, who are in town for a picnic. He ends up getting into a fight with one of them when he confuses his rantings on women with those of Dalton Ames, the boy who got his sister pregnant. He returns to Cambridge to clean his clothes, then heads back out to the same town to drown himself in the river. Throughout the day he is haunted by memories of Caddy, especially of her affair with Dalton Ames, her pregnancy, and her marriage to Herbert Head.

April Sixth, 1928: this section follows Jason through his day as he deals with Quentin, Caddy's illegitimate daughter, who skips school and sleeps around. He takes her to school but then sees her skipping later with one of the musicians who is in town for the circus. Furious, he chases the two of them out of town but loses them when they let the air out of his tires. At the same time he is dealing with the finances of his life. He loses $200 in the stock market, and also receives a $200 check from Caddy for Quentin's upkeep. He cashes this check, then makes out a fake check for his mother to burn. He resents Quentin as the symbol of the job he was deprived of when Caddy divorced Herbert Head. We discover that he has embezzled thousands of dollars from Caddy, money that should have been Quentin's.

April Eighth, 1928: This section continues to follow Jason while also following Dilsey through her day. It is Easter Sunday, and Dilsey takes her family and Benjy to church and is powerfully affected by Reverend Shegog's sermon. She proclaims that she has seen the beginning and the end, the first and the last. At the same time, Jason wakes to discover that Quentin has run away and has taken the money he was saving in a strongbox in his room, $7,000 in total. Caroline is sure that Quentin has committed suicide like her namesake, but Jason drives out of town trying to find her. He meets up with the traveling circus in the next town, but is forcibly driven away by some circus workers. The owner of the circus tells him that Quentin and her boyfriend have left town. He returns to Jackson. At the end of the section, Luster is taking Benjy to the graveyard. When Luster takes a wrong turn, Benjy starts to howl, and Jason, who has just returned to town, stops the carriage and turns it the right way.