The Sound and the Fury - Section 3, April 6, 1928 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Section 3, April 6, 1928

Jason Compson IV is upset with his mother and Miss Quentin. He believes his mother should let him discipline Quentin so that she does not end up like her mother, Caddy, pregnant out-of-wedlock. He does not want her to further damage the family name. Mrs. Compson does not want the community to think that she cannot control her granddaughter. She believes that Jason will lose his temper and harm Quentin.

Jason goes to the kitchen where Quentin is having her breakfast. He grabs her by the arm and drags her into the dining room kicking the door closed in Dilsey’s face as she tries to help the young girl. He questions where Quentin goes when she is supposed to be in school. Dilsey comes in the room. Jason believes the Quentin is running off with boys into the woods. He goes for his belt to whip her. Quentin cries for Dilsey to help her. Dilsey holds onto his arm. Jason hears his mother on the stairs and lets go of Quentin. She runs up the stairs to her room. Jason goes to get the car to drive her to school.

Quentin comes scantily clad and heavily made up. She comments that none of his money paid for any of it. He tells her that Mrs. Compson burns all of the checks that Caddy sends for the care of her daughter. Quentin tells Jason that if she thought any of his money paid for her belongings that she would tear off her dress and throw it in the street. She attempts to tear it and he must stop the car to stop her. He drops her off at school and threatens her if she does not stay there. He tells her that everyone in town knows what she is and what she gets up to.

Jason goes to the post office and picks up the mail. He is late for work and dares Earl, his boss, to say anything to him. He opens the mail. The first one he opens is a letter from Caddy with a check enclosed. She questions if her letters are reaching her daughter because she has had no replies. She asks if she is sick and if she does not hear something she will come to check on her. She knows Jason is opening Caddy’s letters to her daughter so tells him to wire her and let her know her daughter is okay.

He goes to the telegraph office to send the telegraph and check the stock prices. He invests in the stock market and keeps a close eye on it. He goes back to the store and reads a letter from Lorraine, a woman that he keeps in Memphis. He burns the letter because it does not want any paper around bearing a woman’s name. He never writes her. He tells her not to call him.

He waits on the customers who he feels are rednecks and not smart if they do not listen to his suggestions. He is resentful that he never got the opportunities that Quentin was offered with a Harvard education. He feels that the weight of taking care of his mother and Quentin have been put on his shoulders without any thought of what he would like to do with his life. Caddy sent Quentin to her mother to raise when she was a baby and agreed not to have any contact with her.

Jason thinks about his father’s funeral and how his father drank himself to death. He feels his father did not offer him the same opportunities as Quentin and he feels cheated. Mr. Compson went and picked up the baby and brought it back to the Compson home. He would not say where his daughter was and informed them that her husband would not be providing for the baby. Caddy’s husband had discovered that she was pregnant with another man’s child and divorced her. Caddy could not provide for the baby by herself. Jason saw this as his doom for he had to stay home to help provide for the family rather than have a chance of a future for himself. Mrs. Compson forbids Caddy’s name to be spoken in her house. She does not want Quentin to know what kind of women her mother is. Mrs. Compson confides in Jason that he is her only hope and that if anyone had to be taken from her she was glad it was Quentin and not him. Jason is a boy still in school at this time.

Jason runs into Caddy after leaving his father’s funeral. He questions why she is there because she promised not to come back to Jefferson. No one told her of her father’s death, she just happened to see it in the paper. She offers him hundred dollars if he can help her see her baby. He takes her money than goes back to the house for the baby. He has the hack slow down when they get to the corner where Caddy is waiting. She uncovers the baby and holds it up so she can see, but when she comes forward he has the driver drive away. Caddy runs after the carriage. He did it because her husband had promised him a job at his bank, but because of the divorce no job materialized. Caddy comes to his work to confront him. He threatens to tell his mother and Uncle Maury that she is in town if she does not take the next train.

When he gets home, he finds the house in an uproar. Benjy is bellowing and will not be quiet. Jason gets him the slipper they use to keep him quiet, but it makes him bellow louder. Jason then knows that Caddy has been there and Dilsey has let her see the baby. He tells his mother and she has to be carried to her room she is so upset. Dilsey believes Caddy should be able to see her baby and if her father was alive he would allow it. Jason tells Caddy that if she tries that again their Mother will fire Dilsey and send Benjy to Jackson. Caddy does not believe that the money she sends goes to her baby, but cannot prove it because her mother will not acknowledge her. She tries to make him promise to be kind to the child and look after her. Caddy comes once or twice a year to see Quentin, and Jason arranges it.

He opens up the letter addressed to Quentin from Caddy and finds a money order for fifty dollars. He does not understand what the girl needs with that much money. Quentin comes in at lunchtime asking if she has received a letter from her mother. While he is waiting on a customer she goes through his desk and finds the letter. He beats her knuckles on the desk until she lets go. She begs for him to give it to him. He tells her it is only ten dollars and she calls him a thief. She takes the ten dollars and signs the money order without knowing how much it is.

Earl tells him not to go home for lunch because he is expecting a rush, but Jason does not listen. He has to hunt around town for a blank check to substitute for the real check that Caddy sends so that his mother burns a fake check and he cashes the real one. Caddy sends checks for two hundred dollars a month. His mother questions if she is doing right by burning the checks. Jason questions why she would change now after burning them for the last fifteen years. She regrets that he has not had the chances that his brother and sister had.

Jason lies to Earl and tells him that he went to the dentist and not home to lunch. He tells Earl if he doesn’t believe him he knows what he can do. Earl keeps him on for his mother’s sake. Jason spots Quentin out with a man in a red tie. He follows them to see where they are going. Jason goes home and checks on his money hidden away in his room. Back in town, he sees Quentin in a truck with the man and chases them. He is so angry that his head feels as if it will explode. He finds the truck abandoned and goes into the woods. The two circle back around to their car and blow their horn as they drive away. Jason finds his tire flat on his car. He finds a pump and fixes the tire and heads back to town.

He discovers that he lost money on the stock market. When he gets home Luster is lamenting that he lost his quarter and cannot go to the show. Jason tells him that he has two passes and then burns them in the stove rather than give them to him. He makes his mother and Quentin come down to dinner. He tells his mother a story that he lent his car to a man from the minstrel show so that he could track down his brother-in-law who was running around with a town girl. Quentin becomes upset and storms off to her room. Mrs. Compson feels that the child is the judgment of both Caddy’s and Quentin’s sins upon her.

Analysis

Jason Compson IV has grown into a cynical man. He was always left out when the children were young. He eels like an outsider in his own family. Jason feels he did not get the opportunities he deserved and he blames this on his siblings, mainly his sister Caddy.

Jason has a menial job that does not pay much. He feels that he was made to stay with his mother and Benjy to care for him. He was not given a choose in the matter. His dreams and aspirations mean nothing to the family. This makes him not care for any of them. He treats people how he has always been treated with disdain.

This leads him to not have any significant realtionships in his life and to bully his sister's child into following in her mother's footsteps and have no regard for anyone, but herself.

Discussion Question 1

Why does Jason follow Miss Quentin? How is Quentin like her mother? Should the family be worried about her? Why?

Discussion Question 2

Why is Jason so upset with Caddy? Is she to blame for his lack of prosperity? Why or Why not? Why is he so secretive? Does it have anything to do with his realationship with his siblings? Why or Why not?

Discussion Question 3

Do you think Jason thinks too highly of himself and his abilities? Does this affect his attitude toward others and how they view him?

Vocabulary

Contaminate, hertiage, impunity, degenerate, leprosy, indorsement, misappropriate, gratitude, formality, vulgarism, timorous, begrudge, solvent, defraud, usuary, hypocrite, byword, invalid, precedent, discretion, prosperity, reproach, bedlam.

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