The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner | Book Review

the sound and the fury

The Sound and the Fury is considered William Faulkner’s greatest achievement. It tells the story of the tragic Compson family as they basically deteriorate.

This novel isn’t an easy read. At least, the first two sections that is. The first section is from Benjy’s point of view – a mentally disabled man with the mind of a three year old. He also has no concept of time. But I have to say, after a while Benjy’s section is easy to figure out. I liked Benjy and felt sorry for him, he’s the kind of character that you just want to hug.

The second section, with the intelligent and haunted Quentin, is the hardest. I have to admit that reading this section was torturous for me – I just wanted it to end. In fact, it’s probably the main reason I give this book only three stars. Quentin is probably the most tragic figure in the whole book but I can’t say I like being inside his head.

The third section deals with the mean-spirted Jason. His section is easy to read, and it’s sometimes funny. Jason is basically supposed to represent the modern southern man; which Faulkner wasn’t too fond of. And you’ll see why, as he fits the stereotype of the bigoted southerner.

The last section is my favorite. It’s told in third person and focuses on the Compson’s black housekeeper, Dilsey. When Faulkner is writing in third person, it’s beautiful. I was fully engrossed in this part of the novel. I don’t care for Stream of Conscience type writing (in most cases) which is why I hated Quentin’s section so much.

Dilsey is also an okay character but she falls in line with the “mammy” stereotype. I don’t think Faulkner had racist intentions though, since he did have respect for the African American community.

As for the overall reading experience, I can’t say I liked it all that much. Another issue I have is that the story didn’t feel complete – it’s very fragmented. I’d prefer a whole portrait of the Compson family since their story is tragic.

The Sound and the Fury is definitely better than one of the other Faulkner novels I read, As I Lay Dying (I strongly dislike that book). But the reading experience wasn’t enjoyable to me throughout most of the book.

3/5

…I’m still going to try Faulkner’s other novels!

 

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What Makes a Book a Classic?

books

What makes a book a classic?

I assume many people have asked this question. But I want to explore the question for myself.
The question has been on my mind for a while since I’ve read a lot of classics. I’ve also thought about what it would be like to write the next great classic. So here I will contemplate what the standards are for a classic piece of work and what belongs in the literary canon.

Popularity: Many would agree that popularity is a definite no. Otherwise some bad books would be in the canon. Not to mention many great books don’t really sell that well at first.

But has the book had a great impact on society? This might be where popularity with the general audience is important. For example, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, isn’t a well-written book but it’s often cited as one of the causes of the civil war. This alone gives it historical significance so I think it’s fair to consider it a classic.

Innovation/Game-changers: Has the writer done something no one else has done? Has he or she innovated some new form of storytelling?  I agree this should be one of the ways a book can become a classic. Game-changers are always important. So if they’ve changed the way people write for the better, than they need recognition.

Capturing the Universal Human Experience: This is a big one and I agree it’s a good standard to have. A writer that can correctly capture then eternal struggles of humans is a true talent, in my opinion. Books that can do this definitely belong to the canon.

These would be the major standards when arguing what becomes a classic. My list for a book to become classic status would be:

-Has it had a major influence on society?
-Sparks changes in a culture or in literature.
-Successfully writes about the human experience

So what do I think of our current classics and literary canon? To be honest, I think it’s fine and it’s fun to think about what recent writers will stand the test of time and have their work called a classic.

Many people criticize the literary canon for excluding women and non-white authors. I agree to some extent, there are a lot of great authors who were forgotten then rediscovered. I’m grateful for that.

I know a lot of people would be happy to no longer have to read books such as The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter and other dreaded assigned readings. (I personally think The Scarlet Letter is amazing and The Great Gatsby is a good read). And I agree teachers/professors need to stop assigning the same stuff over and over again. I hate reading books I already had to read for another class, give me some variety!

But otherwise, I’d say most of the books in the literary canon deserve to be there. A person doesn’t have to enjoy reading classics, but I think they should try to understand why they’re important. But hey, if they don’t think a certain book deserves classic status that’s fine. Seeing a good argument for why is always interesting.

A Decade by Amy Lowell | Poetry Analysis

A Decade by Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell’s poem accomplishes so much with so few words. “A Decade” conveys so much passion and captures the feeling and process of love.

“When you came, you were like red wine and honey, / and the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness” — when someone first falls in love it brings an intense feeling. A lot of times you feel like you don’t want to be away from that person. “burnt my mouth with its sweetness” describes this. During the first stages of romance the butterflies are there and such and the passion is at its peak.

However, as time goes by the romance begins to calm down. This is shown in the poem with the line: “Now you are like morning bread, smooth and pleasant. / I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour, / But I am completely nourished.” Between the two people in love things have become familiar and less intense.

But this doesn’t mean the relationship is any less pleasant. “Morning bread” is a positive image and alludes to simple, domestic life that may be less intense but it still remains something beautiful.

The romance goes from some wildly passionate to something calm, familiar and comfortable.

March 2016 Reading Wrap Up

girl reading0

 

I didn’t read that much this month unfortunately, mostly because I have so much going on. But I think April will  be a better month 🙂 Still, I had a few nice reads this time.

Monsters Don’t Cry by Shane McKenzie

monsters dont cry
Monsters don’t cry follows a severely obese and deformed girl named Natasha who’s been locked in a room by her parents for a long time. She eventually escapes into the outside world and the bodies begin to pile up. The story also focuses on a college student/drug dealer who’s on the run from a dangerous drug kingpin. I really liked this book. Natasha’s story is actually quite unique and tragic. I couldn’t turn away from this book the moment I started reading. Even with the over-the-top gore and sex, I’d say there’s actually a lot hidden depth here. 4/5.

Goosebumps: A Nightmare on Clown Street by R.L Stine 

a nightmare on clown street
For some reason, I got into a Goosebumps mood this month. And a nice moment of nostalgia is always nice. I also love clowns.Unfortunately, I picked up this one which seems to epitomize all the worst goosebumps tropes. There’s some cool moments but overall the story’s just plain dumb. 2/5

Goosebumps: The Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L Stine

girl who cried monster
Now this Goosebumps book was a lot better. The first half of the book is pretty good and well-done for a Stine book. But by the end it descends into the usual Goosebumps stuff. That’s sad because it really had the potential to be a quality story. 3/5

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

great gatsby
I haven’t read The Great Gatsby in a long time. This was my second time reading it. I think this time I was able to appreciate it more. In many ways it is a very beautiful and tragic story. 3.5/5

The First Part of Henry the Fourth by William Shakespeare

henry IV
This has some of Shakespeare’s best characters: Hotspur and Falstaff. They were what made this play interesting, they’re both really entertaining. But the play kinda of dragged on at times. 3.5/5