By Yana BondarchukTue. 30 Apr. 20243min Read

Our Favourite The Sound and the Fury Quotes

Explore Faulkner's masterpiece, "The Sound and the Fury," a profound narrative of Southern tragedy and familial turmoil.
Our Favourite The Sound and the Fury Quotes

If you're drawn to literature that delves deep into the complexities of human emotion and experience, you might find William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" to be a compelling and haunting exploration of memory, identity, and the passage of time. Let's dive into this modernist masterpiece and uncover its themes of loss, trauma, and the struggle for meaning in a fragmented world.

"The Sound and the Fury" is a novel written by William Faulkner and first published in 1929. It is renowned for its innovative narrative structure, which shifts between different perspectives and time periods, offering readers a multifaceted view of the Compson family and their decline.


"I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it." – Quentin Compson


This profound statement encapsulates Quentin's struggle with the concepts of time and memory, themes that Faulkner explores deeply in this novel about the decline of the Compson family.

"Caddy smelled like trees." – Benjy Compson

This simple yet evocative sentence, repeated throughout Benjy's section, symbolizes purity and a lost idyllic past. Benjy's sensory memories of his sister Caddy are central to his narrative, reflecting his deep emotional connections and the loss he feels.

"No battle is ever won... They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools." – Narrator

This quote reflects Faulkner's skepticism about the notion of victory and success, which aligns with the novel's overarching sense of fatalism and decay within the Compson family.

"It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago." – Quentin Compson

Quentin's reflection on time illustrates his tormented psyche and the novel’s complex narrative structure, which bends and blends time to explore the characters' personal tragedies.

"A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you'd think misfortune would get tired, but then time is your misfortune." – Quentin Compson

This quote delves into the theme of suffering and the relentless passage of time, central to understanding the existential crises faced by the Compson siblings.

"When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o'clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch." – Quentin Compson

Here, Quentin's obsession with time is linked to his watch, a recurring symbol of his desire to control and escape from the relentless progression of time.

"I don't hate the South. I don't hate it!" – Quentin Compson

Quentin's defensive claim highlights his conflicted feelings about his Southern identity and heritage, mirroring Faulkner's exploration of Southern values and decay.

"People to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too." – Jason Compson IV

Jason’s cynical view reflects his pragmatic, often cruel approach to life, contrasting sharply with his siblings' more romantic or idealistic perspectives.

"You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore." – Narrator

Though not directly from the characters, this metaphorical insight reflects Faulkner’s broader philosophical themes about risk, change, and the necessity of leaving the past behind to discover new possibilities.

"My mother is a fish." – Vardaman

This famously cryptic line from the youngest Compson child, Vardaman, illustrates his struggle to understand death and identity, showcasing Faulkner's use of stream of consciousness to delve into the characters' inner lives.

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