Рефераты. American Literature books summary

They head up to the house, but Quentin stays behind, throwing rocks into

the river. The children notice that all the lights are on in the house and

assume that their parents are having a party. Father tells the children to

be quiet and to eat dinner in the kitchen; he won't tell them why they have

to be quiet. Caddy asks him to tell the other children to mind her for the

evening, and he does. The children hear their mother crying, which makes

Maury/Benjy cry. Quentin is also agitated by her crying, but Caddy

reassures him that she is just singing. Jason too begins to cry.

The children go outside and down to the servants' quarters, where Frony and

T. P. (who are children at this point) have a jar of lightning bugs. Frony

asks about the funeral, and Versh scolds her for mentioning it. The

children discuss the only death they know - when their mare Nancy died and

the buzzards "undressed her" in a ditch. Caddy asks T. P. to give

Maury/Benjy his jar of lightning bugs to hold. The children go back up to

the house and stop outside the parlor window. Caddy climbs up a tree to see

in the window, and the children watch her muddy drawers as she climbs.

Dilsey comes out of the house and yells at them. Caddy tells the others

that their parents were not doing anything inside, although she may be

trying to protect them from the truth. The children go inside and upstairs.

Father comes to help tuck them into bed in a strange room. Dilsey dresses

them and tucks them in, and they go to sleep.

Benjy's name change, 1900: Benjy is five years old, Caddy is nine, etc.

Benjy is sitting by the library fire and watching it. Dilsey and Caddy

discuss Benjy's new name; Dilsey wants to know why his parents have changed

it, and Caddy replies that mother said Benjamin was a better name for him

than Maury was. Dilsey says that "folks don't have no luck, changing names"

(58). Caddy brings Benjy to where her mother is lying in the bedroom with a

cloth on her head, to say good night. Benjy can hear the clock ticking and

the rain falling on the roof. Mother chides Caddy not to carry him because

he is too heavy and will ruin her posture. She holds Benjy's face in her

hands and repeats "Benjamin" over and over. Benjy cries until Caddy holds

his favorite cushion over his mother's head.

She leads him to the fire so that he can watch it. Father picks him up,

and he watches the reflection of Caddy and Jason fighting in the library

mirror. Father puts him down and breaks up Caddy and Jason, who are

fighting because Jason cut up all of Benjy's paper dolls. Father takes

Jason to the room next door and spanks him. They all sit by the fire, and

Benjy holds his cushion. Quentin comes and sits next to them. He has been

in a fight at school and has a bruise. Father asks him about it. Versh sits

next to them and tells them a story about a "bluegum" he knows who changed

his name too. Father tells him to be quiet. Caddy and Versh feed Benjy his

dinner, and the four children sit in father's lap. Benjy says that Caddy

and Quentin smell like trees and rain.

Versh, Caddy and Benjy go outside, December 23, 1902: Benjy is seven years

old and Caddy is eleven.

Benjy is crying because he wants to go outside. Mother says it is too cold

for him and he will freeze his hands. She says that if he won't be quiet he

will have to go to the kitchen. Versh replies that Dilsey wants him out of

the kitchen because she has a lot of cooking to do, and Uncle Maury tells

her to let him go outside. Versh puts on his coat and they go outside;

Versh tells him to keep his hands in his pockets. Caddy comes through the

gate, home from school. She takes his hands and they run through the fallen

leaves into the house. Caddy puts him by the fire, and Versh starts to take

his coat off, but Caddy asks if she can take him outside again. Versh puts

on his overshoes again, and mother takes his face in her hands and calls

him "my poor baby," but Caddy kneels by him and tells him that he is not a

poor baby at all because he has her. Benjy notices that she smells like


Caddy and Benjy deliver Uncle Maury's letter to Mrs. Patterson, December

25, 1902.

Caddy and Benjy cross the yard by the barn, where the servants are killing

a pig for dinner. Caddy tells Benjy to keep his hands in his pockets and

lets him hold the letter. She wonders why Uncle Maury did not send Versh

with the letter. They cross the frozen branch and come to the Patterson's

fence. Caddy takes the letter and climbs the fence to deliver it. Mrs.

Patterson comes out of the house.

Benjy delivers a letter to Mrs. Patterson alone, spring 1903: Benjy is

eight years old.

Benjy is at the Patterson's fence. Mr. Patterson is in the garden cutting

flowers. Mrs. Patterson runs from the house to the fence, and Benjy cries

when he sees her angry eyes. She says that she told Maury not to send Benjy

alone again, and asks Benjy to give her the letter. Mr. Patterson comes

running, climbs the fence and takes the letter. Benjy runs away.

Caddy wears perfume, 1906: Benjy is ten years old and Caddy is fourteen.

Caddy tries to hug Benjy but he cries and pushes her away. Jason says that

he must not like her "prissy dress," and says that she thinks she is all

grown up just because she is fourteen. Caddy tries to hush Benjy, but he

disturbs their mother, who calls them to her room. Mother tells Caddy to

give Benjy his box full of cut-out stars. Caddy walks to the bathroom and

washes the perfume off. Benjy goes to the door. Caddy opens the door and

hugs him; she smells like trees again. They go into Caddy's room and she

sits at her mirror. Benjy starts to cry again. She gives him the bottle of

perfume to smell and he runs away, crying. She realizes what made him cry

and tells him she will never wear it again. They go to the kitchen, and

Caddy tells Dilsey that the perfume is a present from Benjy to her. Dilsey

takes the bottle, and Caddy says that "we don't like perfume ourselves"


Caddy in the swing, 1907?: Benjy is eleven or twelve and Caddy is fifteen

or sixteen.

Benjy is out in the yard at night. T. P. calls for him through the window.

He watches the swing, where there are "two now, then one in the swing"

(47). Caddy comes running to him, asking how he got out. She calls for T.

P. Benjy cries and pulls at her dress. Charlie, the boy she is with on the

swing, comes over and asks where T. P. is. Benjy cries and she tells

Charlie to go away. He goes, and she calls for T. P. again. Charlie comes

back and puts his hands on Caddy. She tells him to stop, because Benjy can

see, but he doesn't. She says she has to take Benjy to the house. She takes

his hand and they run to the house and up the porch steps. She hugs him,

and they go inside. Charlie is calling her, but she goes to the kitchen

sink and scrubs her mouth with soap. Benjy sees that she smells like trees


Benjy sleeps alone for the first time, 1908: Benjy is thirteen years old.

Dilsey tells Benjy that he is too old to sleep with anyone else, and that

he will sleep in Uncle Maury's room. Uncle Maury has a black eye and a

swollen mouth, and Father says that he is going to shoot Mr. Patterson.

Mother scolds him and father apologizes. He is drunk.

Dilsey puts Benjy to bed alone, but he cries, and Dilsey comes back. Then

Caddy comes in and lies in the bed with him. She smells like trees. Dilsey

says she will leave the light on in Caddy's room so she can go back there

after Benjy has fallen asleep.

Caddy loses her virginity, 1909: Benjy is fourteen years old and Caddy is


Caddy walks quickly past the door where mother, father, and Benjy are.

Mother calls her in, and she comes to the door. She glances at Benjy, then

glances away. He begins to cry. He goes to her and pulls at her dress,

crying. She is against the wall, and she starts to cry. He chases her up

the stairs, crying. She stops with her back against the wall, crying, and

looks at him with her hand on her mouth. Benjy pushes her into the


Caddy's wedding, 1910: Benjy is fifteen years old and Caddy is nineteen.

Benjy, Quentin, and T. P. are outside the barn, and T. P. has given Benjy

some sarsaparilla to drink; they are both drunk. Quentin pushes T. P. into

the pig trough. They fight, and T. P. pushes Benjy into the trough. Quentin

beats T. P., who can't stop laughing. He keeps saying "whooey!". Versh

comes and yells at T. P. Quentin gives Benjy some more sarsaparilla to

drink, and he cries. T. P. takes him to the cellar, and then goes to a tree

outside the parlor. T. P. drinks some more. He gets a box for Benjy to

stand on so he can see into the parlor. Through the window, Benjy can see

Caddy in her wedding veil, and he cries out, trying to call to her. T. P.

tries to quiet him. Benjy falls down and hits his head on the box. T. P.

drags him to the cellar to get more sarsaparilla, and they fall down the

stairs into the cellar. They climb up the stairs and fall against the fence

and the box. Benjy is crying loudly, and Caddy comes running. Quentin also

comes and begins kicking T. P. Caddy hugs Benjy, but she doesn't smell like

trees any more, and Benjy begins to cry.

Benjy at the gate crying, 1910.

Benjy is in the house looking at the gate and crying, and T. P. tells him

that no matter how hard he cries, Caddy is not coming back.

Later, Benjy stands at the gate crying, and watches some schoolgirls pass

by with their satchels. Benjy howls at them, trying to speak, and they run

by. Benjy runs along the inside of the fence next to them to the end of his

yard. T. P. comes to get him and scolds him for scaring the girls.

Quentin's death, 1910.

Benjy is lying in T. P.'s bed at the servants' quarters, where T. P. is

throwing sticks into a fire. Dilsey and Roskus discuss Quentin's death

without mentioning his name or Caddy's name. Roskus talks about the curse

on the family, saying "aint the sign of it laying right there on that bed.

Aint the sign of it been here for folks to see fifteen years now" (29).

Dilsey tells him to be quiet, but he continues, saying that there have been

two signs now (Benjy's retardation and Quentin's death), and that there

would be one more. Dilsey warns him not to mention Caddy's name. He replies

that "they aint no luck on this place" (29). Dilsey tucks Benjy into T.

P.'s bed and pulls the covers up.

Benjy attacks a girl outside the gate and is castrated, 1911: Benjy is

sixteen years old.

Benjy is standing at the gate crying, and the schoolgirls come by. They

tell each other that he just runs along the inside of the fence and can't

catch them. He unlatches the gate and chases them, trying to talk to them.

They scream and run away. He catches one girl and tries to talk to her,

perhaps tries to rape her.

Later, father talks about how angry Mr. Burgess (her father) is, and wants

to know how Benjy got outside the gate. Jason says that he bets father will

have to send Benjy to the asylum in Jackson now, and father tells him to


Mr. Compson's death, 1912: Benjy is seventeen.

Benjy wakes up and T. P. brings him into the kitchen where Dilsey is

singing. She stops singing when Benjy begins to cry. She tells T. P. to

take him outside, and they go to the branch and down by the barn. Roskus is

in the barn milking a cow, and he tells T. P. to finish milking for him

because he can't use his right hand any more. He says again that there is

no luck on this place.

Later that day, Dilsey tells T. P. to take Benjy and the baby girl Quentin

down to the servants' quarters to play with Luster, who is still a child.

Frony scolds Benjy for taking a toy away from Quentin, and brings them up

to the barn. Roskus is watching T. P. milk a cow.

Later, T. P. and Benjy are down by the ditch where Nancy's bones are. Benjy

can smell father's death. T. P. takes Benjy and Quentin to his house, where

Roskus is sitting next to the fire. He says "that's three, thank the Lawd .

. . I told you two years ago. They aint no luck on this place" (31). He

comments on the bad luck of never mentioning a child's mother's name and

bringing up a child never to know its mother. Dilsey shushes him, asking

him if he wants to make Benjy cry again. Dilsey puts him to bed in Luster's

bed, laying a piece of wood between him and Luster.

Mr. Compson's funeral, 1912.

Benjy and T. P. wait at the corner of the house and watch Mr. Compson's

casket carried by. Benjy can see his father lying there through the glass

in the casket.

Trip to the cemetery, 1912.

Benjy waits for his mother to get into the carriage. She comes out and asks

where Roskus is. Dilsey says that he can't move his arms today, so T. P.

will drive them. Mother says she is afraid to let T. P. drive, but she gets

in the carriage anyway. Mother says that maybe it would be for the best if

she and Benjy were killed in an accident, and Dilsey tells her not to talk

that way. Benjy begins to cry and Dilsey gives him a flower to hold. They

begin to drive, and mother says she is afraid to leave the baby Quentin at

home. She asks T. P. to turn the carriage around. He does, and it tips

precariously but doesn't topple. They return to the house, where Jason is

standing outside with a pencil behind his ear. Mother tells him that they

are going to the cemetery, and he asks her if that was all she came back to

tell him. She says she would feel safer if he came, and he tells her that

Father and Quentin won't hurt her. This makes her cry, and Jason tells her

to stop. Jason tells T. P. to drive, and they take off again.

Roskus's death, later 1920s: Luster is old enough to take care of Benjy by


Dilsey is "moaning" at the servants' quarters. Benjy begins to cry and the

dog begins to howl, and Dilsey stops moaning. Frony tells Luster to take

them down to the barn, but Luster says he won't go down there for fear he

will see Roskus's ghost like he did last night, waving his arms.

Analysis of April 7, 1928:

The title of this novel comes from Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act five, scene

five, in Macbeth's famous speech about the meaninglessness of life. He

states that it is "a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, /

signifying nothing." One could argue that Benjy is the "idiot" referred to

in this speech, for indeed his section seems, at first reading, to "signify

nothing." No one vignette in his narrative seems to be particularly

important, much of it detailing the minutiae of his daily routine. His

speech itself, the "bellering" with which me makes himself heard, does, in

fact, "signify nothing," since he is unable to express himself even when he

wants to in a way other than howling. However, Benjy Compson is not merely

an idiot, and his section is much more meaningful than it first seems.

When discussing Mr. Compson's death, Roskus states that Benjy "know a lot

more than folks thinks" (31), and in fact, for all his idiocy, Benjy does

sense when things are wrong with his self-contained world, especially when

they concern his sister Caddy. Like an animal, Benjy can "smell" when Caddy

has changed; when she wears perfume, he states that she no longer smells

"like trees," and the servants claim that he can smell death. He can also

sense somehow when Caddy has lost her virginity; she has changed to him.

From the time she loses her virginity on, she no longer smells like trees

to him. Although his section at first presents itself as an objective

snapshot of a retarded boy's perceptions of the world, it is more ordered

and more intelligent than that.

Most of the memories Benjy relates in his section have to do with Caddy,

and specifically with moments of loss related to Caddy. The first memory of

Damuddy's death, for example, marks a change in his family structure and a

change in his brother Jason, who was the closest to Damuddy and slept in

her room. His many memories of Caddy are mostly concerned with her

sexuality, a fact that changes her relationship with him and eventually

removes her from his life. His later memories are also associated with some

sort of loss: the loss of his pasture, of his father, and the loss

associated with his castration. Critics have pointed out that Benjy's

narrative is "timeless," that he cannot distinguish between present and

past and therefore relives his memories as they occur to him. If this is

the case, he is caught in a process of constantly regenerating his sister

in memory and losing her simultaneously, of creating and losing at the same

time. His life is a constant cycle of loss and degenerative change.

If Benjy is trapped in a constantly replaying succession of losses, the

objects that he fixates on seem to echo this state. He loves fire, for

instance, and often stares into the "bright shapes" of the fire while the

world revolves around him. The word "fire" is mentioned numerous times in

the memory of his name change. Caddy and the servants know that he stops

crying when he looks at the fire, which is the reason in the present day

that Luster makes a fire in the library even though one is not needed.

The fire is a symbolic object; it is conventionally associated with the

contrast between light and dark, heat and cold. It is a comfort, not merely

to Benjy because of the pleasure he receives in watching it, but because it

is associated with the hearth, the center of the home. As critics have

pointed out, it is often Caddy who places Benjy in front of the fire: "she

led me to the fire and I looked at the bright, smooth shapes" (64). The

fire is therefore tied in Benjy's mind with the idea of Caddy; both are

warm and comforting forces within a cold family. But unlike Caddy, the fire

is unchanging; there will always be a fire, even after she leaves him. The

fact that Benjy burns himself on the kitchen stove after Luster closes the

oven door reveals the pain - both physical and mental - that Benjy

associates with Caddy's absence.

Another object that provides comfort to Benjy is the library mirror. Like

the fire, the mirror plays a large part in the memory of his name change,

Страницы: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

2012 © Все права защищены
При использовании материалов активная ссылка на источник обязательна.