What is the exposition in The Sound and The Fury?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the basic concept of an exposition is one that applies to a traditional construction of literature.  The “exposition” provides background before the “rising action” is to take place, a conventional approach to specific plot development and conflict.  This is not something that is as present in Faulkner’s work because the work, itself, is not traditional.  Written in a stream of consciousness style that does not construct itself in a traditional manner,  it is for this reason why there is not a straight forward exposition.  There can be no specific point of “rising action” because of the convergence of narratives and ideas in a manner that is not conventional or traditional.  I agree with you that there is not one.  Benjy’s section cannot be considered an exposition because it does not outline the singular plot structure and development that is integral to the traditional exposition element.  I think that in presenting the narratives in the manner he does, Faulkner does not need an exposition, as each narrative blends past and present together, making a statement about how time is fluid in the mind of the modern individual.  Within this, there cannot be a direct opening or starting point because Faulkner feels that modern consciousness is not structured in such a manner.  For this, I think that there is no exposition to his work.

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