Caddy and Quentin


Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury, shows the decline of a well-established and well-known southern aristocratic family. The novel’s main focuses are the moral decay of the Compson family and time (not letting go of the past). Throughout the novel we see how the values of the Compson family, which represents the old south, being erased as time moves on. The Compson’s unwillingness to change with their surroundings and it ultimately destroys their family. In the novel the Compson’s represent the old south. The Compson’s are an old white southern aristocratic family living in Mississippi. Faulkner uses this family to illustrate the old traditions of southern culture and how time was corrupting the morals of the entire south. We see the decay of the south in the novels characters and their actions.


Several times throughout The Sound and the Fury, as in other novels, are scenes in which the family, or parts of it, is sitting down at the dinner table for a meal. In Jason’s section, there is a particular scene in which this occurs. At this point in time, the Compson family consists of Jason, his mother, Quentin and Benjy, and Dilsey and Luster. The scene begins by Jason refusing to eat dinner, or even go to the dinner table, until his mother and Quentin come down to accompany him. This situation clearly shows the stubbornness of Jason’s personality.


Several times Dilsey asks him to just eat by himself, and to forget about the other family members who are obviously too sick or occupied to come down to dinner. Instead, Jason continues to read the paper, refusing to move until the rest of the family has come down to join him. In the same dialogue as above, not only is the trait of stubbornness shown, but also his constant sarcastic, almost brash tone. When Dilsey first tells Jason that dinner is ready, instead of a thank you or any other common words of appreciation, he replies “Is it?. . .Excuse me, I didn’t hear anybody come down.” This clearly shows his sarcastic tone towards all people. Jason is seen as the ‘man of the house’ ever since Mr. Compson died. His mother actually corrects herself when she calls the house her house, instead saying it is Jason’s and that he is the head of it. This is what gives him a lot of his arrogance and haughtiness. His mother is constantly telling him how he is the superior of all the other children and even that he is the head of the house and that it is his. Who wouldn’t acquire such a big ego with the praise he receives from his mother? When Quentin finally sits at the table, Jason immediately starts to rip her apart. In his usual cynical tone he constantly irritates Quentin to the point where she breaks. Jason brings up the situation in which he was chasing Quentin with another man, but instead of actually telling his mother that he was chasing Quentin, he generalizes the story to exclude her. Quentin knows that this story is about her, and that it will get her in trouble, so she is constantly being bothered by the fact that she could get in trouble at any moment Jason decides to mention her name. This is an example of how manipulative and irking Jason is, especially to Quentin, who has a deep hate for Jason. Jason also seems to be a chronic liar, an expected characteristic of such an egotistical jerk. He is constantly lying to his mother about his money usage and where he has been and done throughout the day. He lies to his boss at the hardware store about why he was late and what he has been doing. Not only does he lie to his mother, but also he instills a deep depression into her. He does this because he knows it gives him power and control. He likes the fact that his mother is dependent on him and practically bows down in his presence.


At one point in their conversation, he said in his mocking tone “You’ve got Ben to depend on. Cheer up.” Just a couple paragraphs down they start talking about Quentin (Jason’s brother) and Jason replies