The Sound and the Fury Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Summarize the novel.

The Sound and the Fury is a novel in four parts, set in Mississippi and depicting the decline of a dysfunctional Southern family, headed by an alcoholic father Jason Compson and self-centered and self-pitying mother Caroline Bascomb Compson.

2. Describe the two parents of the Compson family.

Jason Compson is a caring father, while Caroline is too self-absorbed to have any time for her children. She sees her youngest son's affliction as a curse on the family and when he is five years old changes his name in the belief it will cure him.

3. Describe Uncle Maury's role in the novel.

Caroline's brother Maury is a poor businessman who makes a number of unsuccessful investments, usually with money he borrows from other people. He has an affair with a neighbor, and uses the children to send notes to her.

4. Describe Benjamin Compson's role in the novel.

The youngest child, Benjy, is mute and mentally retarded. He has no understanding of time and his recollections move backwards and forwards without any sequence.

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