The Sound and the Fury - Study Guide Section 2, June 2, 1910 (Part I) Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Section 2, June 2, 1910 (Part I)

Quentin listens to his Grandfather's watch that his father gave him before sending him off to Harvard. He lays in his room listening to it tick. He hears his roomate get up to go to class. Quentin gets up and turns the watch over and goes back to bed.

Quentin thinks of his sister and how he told his father he committed incest to save his sister's reputation. He tries to convince his father to send his brother, Jason, to Harvard instead. His roommate comes to his door asking him if he is cutting classes that morning. Quentin says he did not know it was so late. He tells Shreve to go without him and he would be along later.

He watches the students out the window running to class. It makes him think how his classmates have taunted him for being a virgin. Quentin wishes he was the one who lost his virginity instead of his sister. He does not like it when his classmates call the girls 'dirty sluts.' It does not want to think that people see his sister in such a way.

Quentin breaks his watch to stop the ticking. He cuts his finger on the broken glass. He packs his trunk with his clothes and addresses it. He folds the trunk key into a sheet of paper and envelope and addresses it to his father. He writes two other notes and seals them. He baths shaves and puts on a new suit. The suit makes him think of his sister's wedding day.

Quentin stamps his letters, mails the one to his father and puts the one for his roommate, Shreve, in his pocket. He eats his breakfast and buys a cigar. He takes his watch to a jeweler to see if they can fix it. He tells them it fell of his dresser. He tells the man that he is dresses up to celebrate his birthday. He does not leave his watch with the man. He can hear the watch in his pocket, but it cannot tell time. He goes to the hardware store and buys two six pound weights.

He gets in a car not knowing or caring where it is going. Quentin thinks of his classmate Gerald. He is from Kentucky and thinks himself a prince. His mother has come to Harvard with him and has an apartment in town. Gerald and his mother paint him as a lady's man who had every woman in Kentucky. Quentin does not believe in the reputation. Quentin is accepted by Gerald and his mother because he is a Southerner.

Quentin thinks about his sister and her husband, Herbert, a Harvard graduate. He is not the father of her child and she attempts to make him think it is. His classmates think of woman as bitches. Quentin does not like to think of his sister in this way. Herbert buys her a car as a present making her the first person in Jefferson to own a car. He offers to give Jason a job in his bank when he finishes high school. Caddy wants Quentin and Herbert to be friends. Mrs. Compson is thrilled at the marriage, and Herbert is very suave. Quentin tries to understand why Caddy became pregnant. He feels that she has no respect for herself because she will be with anyone. He feels it is his and his father's duty to protect Caddy and they failed.

Mrs. Compson sees Benjy as punishment on her and Caddy's pregnancy as yet another burden she must carry. She believes her children are all selfish except for Jason. She feels she must pay for her husband's sins as well as her own. She feels Mr. Compson punishes Jason more than the other children because he is more like her than the others. She feels he lets Caddy do whatever she wants with no consequence and that she will contaminate the other children. She wants to take Jason away to protect him from the shame and immorality of her daughter.

Caddy tries to make Quentin agree to take care of Benjy and their father once she is married. He asks when she has ever thought of them. She does not want Benjy sent to Jackson.Herbert tries to be friendly with Quentin, but, Quentin knows that Herbert is a cheat. He cheated at cards and got caught cheating on his midterms and was expelled. Herbert thinks nothing of it and tells Quentin in five years he will think the same. Herbert tries to give him money to keep quiet, but Quentin will not take it. Quentin tries to convince Caddy not to marry him, but she is pregnant and feels that she must marry someone. He asks have there been many, and she says too many.

Quentin gets off the car and walks across a bridge watching some boys fish. The boys argue about the best place to fish. Quentin asks them about places in town where he will be able to find out the time. They ask him why he doesn't look at his watch. He tells them it is broken.

His mind flits back to the past when he tried to get Caddy to take the money that was given to him for Harvard and run away. Caddy, Benjy, and he could have gone where no one knew them. His father got the money by selling pasture land. Their father drinks heavily and is not expected to live much longer. He drinks because of Caddy and her indiscretions.

Quentin goes into a bakery and orders two buns. A small girl is in there and eyes him enviously. The woman accuses the girl of trying to steal something and calls her a foreigner. Quentin comes to her defense. He shows the nickel in her hand to buy bread. The two leave the bakery together.

Analysis

Quentin feels guilt for his sister's indiscretions and is contemplating suicide. He packs up all of his belongings and addresses letters to his father and friends. He buys weights at a hardware store and is extremely fascinated with water. Quentin breaks the hands off his watch to signify how time is no longer important because he does not have much time left. The ticking he keeps hearing is time ticking closer to the end.

Quentin tries to protect Caddy. He does not want her to marry a man she does not love, but he cannot stop her. His father is slowly drinking himself to death because of Caddy's actions and disregard for the family's reputation. Quentin has opted to choose a faster way to deal with the guilt and shame that he feels. The family resolves around Caddy and her actions affect them all.

Quentin is upset that she chooses to marry an immoral man rather than run away with him and Benjy. He sees it as her choosing a cad like Herbert over her family. This is a disloyal act. Quentin does not like the world that he is living in where women are treated like sluts and men use them as a means to an end. He does not want his sister treated this way, but he cannot stop her from acting as she does or accepting the degrading treatment by the men.

Discussion Question 1

Why is Quentin obessed with hsi grandfather's watch that his fater gave him? Why does he break the watch?

Discussion Question 2

Why does Quentin tell his father he committed incest? Is he obsessed with his sister? Why do you think so?

Discussion Question 3

Is Quentin jealous of Dalton Aames? How do you think he feels about the father of his sister's baby?

Vocabulary

Mausoleum, reducto, illusion, oblivious, idle, crucified, excrement, shirk, raucous, contradictory, paradoxical, subterfuge, noblesse, cojole, affinity, subjugate, ubiquituous, raiment, diffident, benignant, profound, fecundity, acrimony, apotheosis, infinity, cupola, expenditure, certitude, acquiescent, cognizance, nefarious.

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(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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