The Power of Traumatic Loss in William Faulkner’s the Sound and the Fury: The Quentin Section as an Example


This paper examines the theme of the power of trauma in Quentin Compson’s section in William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury. Throughout his section, Quentin is portrayed as a traumatized character, whose loss of his sister Caddy’s virginity and the decadence of the Southern mores and values affected him psychologically. That is why it is essential to discern the narrative experimentation techniques that translate Quentin’s trauma. Moreover, it is tenable to relate Quentin’s psychological wound to the Southern fall and crisis in terms of morality, ethics and social supremacy and mastery. This paper adopts different approaches from which the Quentin section could be read. Most notably the historical one that explores the novel’s historical context and its “symbiotic relationship” with the Southerner’s inability to heal after the Civil War. It also relies on the formal approach based on a close reading of the novel to stress the experimental techniques through which Faulkner is able to translate Quentin’s powerful trauma of loss. Besides, it attempts to trace the power of trauma as a trigger to the sense of loss, desire, sexuality and incest. It encompasses a theoretical framework in which the Modern trend, and most importantly, Trauma theory are emphasized. The findings are based on Quentin’s section in The Sound and the Fury as marked by fragmentation, absence of the notion of time, excessive repetition in the form of “unbidden flashbacks”, in addition to a deviation in terms of punctuation.

Author Information
Mariem Feki, University of Sousse, Tunisia

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2015
Stream: Literature - Literary Criticism and Theory

This paper is part of the LibEuro2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon