Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Yoknapatawpha County (YOK-nuh-puh-TAW-fuh). Beginning with his third novel, William Faulkner set a great deal of his fiction in the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner drew this county for a map included in his novel Absalom, Absalom! (1936). He included details about plot events and where they occurred. The county is named after a river in Mississippi and the Native American word Yoknapatawpha. The details make it clear that it corresponds to Lafayette County, Mississippi, where Faulkner lived in the town of Oxford, called Jefferson in his fiction. Throughout Faulkner’s fiction, he creates a detailed history of the land, its inhabitants, its changes, and its significance. By taking his home, what he called his own “little postage stamp of native soil,” and transforming it into the powerful mythical county of his fiction, Faulkner created an enduring literary landscape.
Jefferson. Typical southern town of the period, Jefferson plays a central role in the story. The siblings play on their land and the surrounding area, from Benjy’s pasture to neighboring yards, the riverbank, and the creek, where a number of important events take place. The powerful last scene of the novel takes place in the town square, complete with Confederate statue, where Luster upsets Benjy by going the wrong way on a one-way street. The town is also where Jason rushes in and out of the store...
(The entire section is 553 words.)
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Chronology of Major Events
Part 1 Questions and Answers
1. Explain why Benjy cried when the golfer called, “Here caddie.”
2. What was Luster looking for by the stream?
3. When Caddy and Benjy passed the pig pen on Christmas Eve, why did Caddy say the pigs were upset?
4. Why, as children, did Caddy and Quentin think they would be whipped?
5. Why did Caddy climb a tree?
6. What did Benjy think of Caddy after she had climbed the tree?
7. What did Uncle Maury have Benjy deliver?
8. Why was Benjy’s name changed?
9. Why did Benjy withdraw from Caddy?
10. What was unusual about how the man on a swing with Miss Quentin was dressed?
(The entire section is 267 words.)
Part 2 Questions and Answers
1. What did Quentin do with the watch from his father?
2. What, for Quentin, was the significance of the month of June?
3. What did Quentin tell his father that he and Caddy had done?
4. What did Quentin enclose with the suicide note to his ¬father?
5. How did the Compson family pay for Quentin’s tuition to Harvard?
6. What reward did a store in Boston offer to anybody who could catch the giant trout?
7. Where did the three boys go after they gave up the idea of catching the trout?
8. What did Caddy do to Natalie, the girlfriend of Quentin?
9. What did Dalton Ames do with his gun after he had demonstrated...
(The entire section is 282 words.)
Part 3 Questions and Answers
1. Why did a teacher from Miss Quentin’s school call Mrs Compson?
2. What did Caddy say she would do if Jason did not reply to her letter by April 10th?
3. What was Jason investing money in?
4. Why, especially, did Jason hold a grudge against Caddy?
5. How does Jason let Caddy see her infant daughter?
6. How does Jason manage to obtain the money that Caddy sends for the care of Miss Quentin?
7. What does Uncle Maury request of Jason in his letter?
8. What does Jason do when he sees Miss Quentin in a car with a travelling entertainer?
9. What does Jason learn every time he goes into the telegraph office?...
(The entire section is 331 words.)
Part 4 Questions and Answers
1. What does Jason think at first when he finds that the window of his room has been broken?
2. What does Jason call Mrs Compson when she is slow about giving him the key to Miss Quentin’s room?
3. What does Mrs Compson look for when she learns that Miss Quentin is missing?
4. What does Jason do as soon as he gets into Miss Quentin’s room and finds the bed has not been slept in?
5. What does Luster tell Dilsey about Miss Quentin before they go to church?
6. What did Mrs Compson ask for after Dilsey returned from church?
7. Why did the sheriff refuse to help Jason pursue Miss Quentin and the travelling entertainer with a red...
(The entire section is 375 words.)
Ideas for Group Discussions
Compare and Contrast
Topics for Further Study
What Do I Read Next?
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Bloom, Harold, ed. Caddy Compson. New York: Chelsea House, 1990. Contains ten critical essays focusing on Caddy Compson.
Karl, Frederick R. William Faulkner: American Writer. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989. A 1,000-page biography of Faulkner that also provides insightful critical analyses of his major works. Karl’s discussion of how Faulkner wove together the complex parts of The Sound and the Fury is particularly illuminating.
Matthews, John T. “The Sound and the Fury”: Faulkner and the Lost Cause. Boston: Twayne, 1991. A short but insightful book-length study of the...
(The entire section is 193 words.)