The Sound and the Fury April Sixth, 1928 (Section 2)
After Quentin leaves the store, Jason takes his lunch break, making a stop before going home. He goes to a print shop to fabricate a blank check. He forges Caddy's signature, and writes in a dollar amount of two hundred dollars. When he arrives home, he shows his mother the check, which she proceeds to burn with much hand wringing and ceremony, just like every other month. In this situation, we realize that Jason lies to both Quentin and his mother. First, he cashes Quentin's checks from Caddy for his own benefit, giving Quentin only a fraction of the actual amount meant for her. Second, he has let his mother labor under the illusion that the family has not received a single penny from Caddy Compson in seventeen years. Jason also tries to hide from Caddy how he handles the checks she sends every month. In her most recent letter to him, however, she shows that she's beginning to see through his shenanigans, demanding to know where her money goes.
After Mrs. Compson and her son finish burning the fake check, they sit down for lunch minus Quentin, who refuses to come home to eat today. During lunch, Jason tells his mother that his Uncle Maury has asked for more money. She willingly and frequently throws money at her irresponsible brother, who probably won't spend it on anything worth investing. She does it because he is the last of her people, the Bascombs, of whom she is very proud. Just as she begins to get emotional about it, Jason escapes back to work.
There, he gets into an argument with his boss involving his own integrity (or lack thereof). We find that he has stolen his mother's car, paid for with the one thousand dollars he was supposed to have invested in the store. Additionally, the reason he is not a partner in the store is because he had embezzled some of its finances. The only reason Jason's boss keeps him in the store is because he has sympathy for the Compson family. Jason shrugs off his boss' indictment of him, thinking to himself, "I'm glad I haven't got the sort of conscience I've got to nurse like a sick puppy all the time." April Sixth, pg. 229
He goes back to work, and shortly thereafter spots Quentin and a man wearing a red tie run past the store. He is furious to see her skipping school again, and chases after them all through town. While Jason tries to keep up with his niece and her new male friend, who he realizes is from the road show in town, he begins to think back on his youth. Images of his tortured family haunt his memory. He seems especially bitter towards his father, who drank himself to death.
By the time Jason decides to head home to see if Quentin is there, he has developed a pounding headache. He does not find his niece there, so he ventures back into town. Just as he turned onto the main road, Quentin and the boy from the road show screech past him in a stolen car. Jason chases after them again, finally spotting their stolen vehicle parked outside the woods. He parks his car there, too, and tramps through the maze of trees and ticks and lice of the forest. He is a mess, but he doesn't seem to notice. Jason's rage and his pounding headache seem to blind him. He finally spots the two of them running out of a ditch, but they quickly get into their car and speed away, leaving Jason in the dust. He goes back to his car, and finds that the two of them have let the air out of his tires. Humiliated and even more upset, he gets it fixed at a nearby station, and heads back to town. He received a telegraph, urging him to sell his stock, for the market would be experiencing an incredible downturn. Angry with his broker, for he never gives good advice, Jason ignores the warning, deciding to buy. He then heads back to his store to finish the workday.
A few hours later, he heads back home, to find that Dilsey is not making supper, but is breaking up a fight between Mrs. Compson and Quentin, who arrived home shortly before her uncle. After a short while, Dilsey comes downstairs, ready to make dinner. Luster, her grandson, has been talking about going to the road show all day, wishing he had a quarter to buy a ticket. Coincidentally, Jason's boss had given him two free tickets to the same show that Jason had absolutely no intention of seeing. Instead of simply giving his servant the ticket, he demands money for it, knowing that teenage Luster hasn't even a nickel. Jason proceeds to burn the tickets over the stove, watching Luster's face fall in disappointment. Dilsey shakes her head at him, and promises to procure for a quarter for her grandson by tomorrow night.
In the meantime, Dilsey has prepared supper, but neither Mrs. Compson nor Quentin will come down to eat. As usual, the woman of the house is feeling under the weather, and makes a big production of making it downstairs. Quentin manages to come down as well, but sulks all through the meal, saying nothing. Throughout supper, Jason makes indirect comments to his mother about Quentin's loose behavior, until finally Quentin explodes, seething with anger at her uncle. She blames his cruelty to her for her behavior: "Whatever I do, it's your fault...If I'm bad, it's because I had to be. You made me. I wish I was dead. I wish we were all dead." April Sixth, pg. 260 After yelling this at her family, she storms up to her room. Her grandmother blames her behavior on her heritage, saying she has inherited all of her namesake's and her mother's headstrong traits: "Sometimes I think she is the judgment of both of them upon me." April Sixth, pg. 261
The argument ends their family supper together, and they all retreat back to their own rooms for the night. Quentin has already gone up to her room to study. Mrs. Compson trudges up the stairs to her own room, and Jason heads back to his room. Hearing Benjy snoring away, he makes a comment about how he should have been sent to the asylum while under anesthesia for a sterilization operation. Bitterly, Jason thinks to himself before he goes to bed:
"And just let me have twenty-four hours without any damn New York jew to advise me what it's going to do...I just want an even chance to get my money back. And once I've done that they can bring all Beale street and all bedlam in here and two of them can sleep in my bed and another one can have my place at my table too." April Sixth, pg. 264