Рефераты. American Literature books summary

out of the house and Quentin follows her; he finds her lying in the branch.

He threatens to tell Father that he committed incest with her; she replies

with pity. He tells her that he is stronger than she is, he will make her

tell him. He adds that he fooled her; all the time she thought it was her

boyfriends and it was Quentin instead. The smell of honeysuckle is all

around them.

She asks him if Benjy is still crying. He asks her if she loves Dalton

Ames; she places his hand on her chest and he feels her heart beating

there. He asks her if he made her do it, saying "Ill kill him I swear I

will father neednt know until afterward and then you and I nobody need ever

know we can take my school money we can cancel my matriculation Caddy you

hate him dont you" (151). She moves his hand to her throat, where the blood

is "hammering," and says "poor Quentin" (151). A moment later she says "yes

I hate him I would die for him Ive already died for him I die for him over

and over again" (151). She looks at him and then says "you've never done

that have you," to which Quentin responds "yes yes lots of times with lots

of girls," but he is lying, and Caddy knows it; he cries on her shirt and

they lie together in the branch (151). He holds a knife to her throat,

telling her that he can kill her quickly and painlessly and then kill

himself. She agrees and he asks her to close her eyes, but she doesn't,

looking past his head at the sky.

He begins to cry; he cannot do it. She holds his head to her breast and he

drops the knife. She stands up and tells him that she has to go, and

Quentin searches in the water for his knife. The two walk together past the

ditch where Nancy's bones were, then she turns and tells him to stop [she

is headed to meet Dalton Ames]. He replies that he is stronger than she is;

she tells him to go back to the house. But he continues to follow her. Just

past the fence, Dalton Ames is waiting for her, and she introduces them and

kisses Dalton.

Quentin tells them that he is going to take a walk in the woods, and she

asks him to wait for her at the branch, that she will be there soon. He

walks aimlessly, trying to escape the smell of honeysuckle that chokes him,

and lies on the bank of the branch. Presently Caddy appears and tells him

to go home. He shakes her; she is limp in his hands and does not look at

him. They walk together to the house, and at the steps he asks her again if

she loves Dalton Ames. She tells him that she doesn't know. She tells him

that she is "bad anyway you cant help it" (158).

Quentin fights with Dalton Ames, 1909: Quentin sees Dalton Ames go into a

barbershop in town and waits for him to come out. He tells him "Ive been

looking for you two or three days" and Dalton replies that he can't talk to

him there on the street; the two arrange to meet at the bridge over the

creek at one o'clock (158). Dalton is very polite to Quentin. Later, Caddy

overhears Quentin telling T. P. to saddle his horse and asks him where he

is going. He will not tell her and calls her a whore. He tells T. P. that

he won't need his horse after all and walks to the bridge. Dalton is

waiting for him there. Quentin tells him to leave town.

Dalton stares at him and asks if Caddy sent him. Quentin tells him that

he, and only he, is asking Dalton to leave town. Dalton dismisses this,

just wishing to know if Caddy is all right. Quentin continues to order him

to leave, and Dalton counters with "what will you do if I dont leave"

(160). In response Dalton slowly and deliberately smokes a cigarette,

leaning on the bridge railing. He tells Quentin to stop taking it so hard,

that if he hadn't gotten Caddy pregnant some other guy would have. Shaking,

Quentin asks him if he ever had a sister, and he replies "no but theyre all

bitches" (160). Quentin hits him, but Dalton catches him by both wrists and

reaches under his coat for a gun, then turns him loose.

Dropping a piece of bark into the creek, Dalton shoots at it and hands the

gun to Quentin. Quentin punches at him and he holds his wrists again, and

Quentin passes out. He asks Quentin how he feels and if he can make it home

all right. He tells him that he'd better not walk and offers him his horse.

Quentin brushes him off and eventually he rides off. Quentin slumps against

a tree. He hears hoofbeats and Caddy comes running. She thought that Dalton

shot him. She holds his face with her hands and Quentin grabs her wrists.

She begs him to let her go so she can run after Dalton, then suddenly stops

struggling. Quentin asks her if she loves him. Again she places his hand on

her throat, and tells him to say his name. Quentin says "Dalton Ames," and

each time he does he can feel the blood surging in her throat.

Quentin meets Herbert Head before Caddy's wedding, 1910: Herbert finds

Quentin alone in the parlor and attempts to get to know him better. He is

smoking a cigar and offers one to Quentin. Herbert tells him that Caddy

talked so much about him when they met that he thought she was talking

about a husband or boyfriend, not a brother. He asks Quentin about Harvard,

reminiscing about his own college days, and Quentin accuses him of cheating

[he has heard rumors about Herbert's cheating at cards]. Herbert jokingly

banters back that Quentin is "better than a play you must have made the

Dramat" (108).

He tells Quentin that he likes him and that he is glad they are going to be

friends. He offers to give him a hand and get him started in business, but

Quentin rejects his offer and challenges him. They begin to fight but stop

when Herbert sees that his cigar butt has almost burned a spot into the

mantel. He backs off and again offers Quentin his friendship and offers him

some money, which Quentin rejects. They are just beginning to fight again

when Caddy enters and asks Herbert to leave so she can talk to Quentin

alone. Alone, she asks Quentin what he is doing and warns him not to get

involved in her life again. He notices that she is feverish, and she tells

him that she is sick. He asks her what she means and she tells him she is

just sick and begs him not to tell anyone. Again he asks her what she means

and tells her that if she is sick she shouldn't go through with the

ceremony. She replies that she can and must and that "after that it'll be

all right it wont matter" and begs him to look after Benjy and make sure

that they don't send him to an asylum (112). Quentin promises.

Caddy's wedding, 1910: Benjy is howling outside, and Caddy runs out the

door to him, "right out of the mirror" (77).

Mother speaks, undated: Mother tells Father that she wants to go away and

take only Jason, because he is the only child who loves her, the only child

who is truly a Bascomb, not a Compson. She says that the other three

children are her "punishment for putting aside [her] pride and marrying a

man who held himself above [her]" (104). These three are "not [her] flesh

and blood" and she is actually afraid of them, that they are the symbols of

a curse upon her and the family. She views Caddy not merely as damaging the

family name with her promiscuity but actually "corrupting" the other

children (104).

Quentin's conversations with Father, undated (a string of separate

conversations on the same theme): Quentin tells his father that he

committed incest with Caddy; his father does not believe him. Father takes

a practical, logical, if unemotional view of Caddy's sexuality, telling

Quentin that women have "a practical fertility of suspicion . . . [and] an

affinity for evil," that he should not take her promiscuity to heart

because it was inevitable (96). When Quentin tells him that he would like

to have been born a eunuch so that he never had to think about sex, he

responds "it's because you are a virgin: dont you see? Women are never

virgins. Purity is a negative state and therefore contrary to nature. It's

nature is hurting you not Caddy."

Quentin replies "that's just words" and father counters "so is virginity"

(116). Quentin insists that he has committed incest with Caddy and that he

wants to die, but still Father won't believe him. Father tells him that he

is merely "blind to what is in yourself to that part of general truth the

sequence of natural events and their causes which shadows every mans brow

even benjys . . . you cannot bear to think that someday it will no longer

hurt you like this" (177). He claims that not even Caddy was really "quite

worth despair," that Quentin will grow out of the pain he feels at her

betrayal of his ideal (178).

Analysis of June Second, 1910:

From the very first sentence of the section, Quentin is obsessed with time;

words associated with time like "watch," "clock," "chime," and "hour" occur

on almost every page. When Quentin wakes he is "in time again, hearing the

watch," and the rest of the day represents an attempt to escape time, to

get "out of time" (76). His first action when he wakes is to break the

hands off his watch in an attempt to stop time, to escape the "reducto

absurdum of all human experience" which is the gradual progression toward

death (76). Perversely taking literally his father's statement that "time

is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the

clock stops does time come to life," he tears the hands off his watch, only

to find that it continues to tick even without the hands (85). Throughout

this section, Quentin tries to escape time in similar ways; he tries to

avoid looking at clocks, he tries to travel away from the sound of school

chimes or factory whistles. By the end of the section he has succeeded in

escaping knowledge of the time (when he returns to school he hears the bell

ringing and has no idea what hour it is chiming off), but he still has not

taken himself out of time. In the end, as he knows throughout this section,

the only way to escape time is to die.

Jean-Paul Sartre, in his analysis of this novel, sees Quentin's suicide as

not merely a way of escaping time but of exploding time. His suicide is

present in all the actions of the day, not so much a fate he could dream of

escaping as "an immobile wall, a thing which he approaches backward, and

which he neither wants to nor can conceive" (Sartre, 91). It is not a

future but a part of the present, the point from which the story is told.

Quentin narrates the day's events in the past tense, as if they have

already happened; the "present" from which he looks back at the day's

events must be the moment of his death. As Sartre puts it:

Since the hero's last thoughts coincide approximately with the bursting of

his memory and its annihilation, who is remembering? . . . . [Faulkner] has

chosen the infinitesimal instant of death. Thus when Quentin's memory

begins to unravel its recollections ("Through the wall I heard Shreve's bed-

springs and then his slippers on the floor hishing. I got up . . . ") he is

already dead (92).

In other words, time explodes at the instant of Quentin's suicide, and the

events of this "infinitesimal instant" are recorded in this section. By

killing himself, Quentin has found the only way to access time that is

"alive" in the sense that his father details, time that has escaped the

clicking of little wheels.

But why does Quentin want to escape time? The answer lies in one of the

conversations with his father that are recorded in this section. When

Quentin claims that he committed incest with Caddy, his father refuses to

believe him and says:

You cannot bear to think that someday it will no longer hurt you like this

. . . it is hard believing to think that a love or a sorrow is a bond

purchased without design and which matures willynilly and is recalled

without warning . . . no you will not do that until you come to believe

that even she was not quite worth despair perhaps (177-178).

Quentin's response to this statement is "i will never do that nobody knows

what i know." His attempt to stop the progression of time is an attempt to

preserve the rawness of the pain Caddy's promiscuity and marriage have

caused him; he never wants to think of her as "not quite worth despair."

Like Benjy, Quentin is obsessed with an absent Caddy, and both brothers'

sections are ordered around memories of her, specifically of her

promiscuity. For both brothers, her absence is linked to her promiscuity,

but for Quentin her promiscuity signals not merely her loss from his life

but also the loss of the romantically idealized idea of life he has built

for himself. This ideal life has at its center a valuation of purity and

cleanness and a rejection of sexuality; Quentin sees his own developing

sexuality as well as his sister's as sinful. The loss of her virginity is

the painful center of a spiral of loss as his illusions are shattered.

Critics have read Quentin's obsession with Caddy's virginity as an

antebellum-style preoccupation with family honor, but in fact family honor

is hardly ever mentioned in this section. The pain that Caddy's promiscuity

causes Quentin seems too raw, too intense, too visceral to be merely a

disappointment at the staining family honor. And perhaps most importantly,

Quentin's response to her promiscuity, namely telling his father that he

and she committed incest, is not the act of a person concerned with family

honor. Rather it is the act of a boy so in love with his sister and so

obsessed with maintaining the closeness of their relationship that he would

rather be condemned by the town and suffer in hell than let her go. He is,

in fact, obsessed with her purity and virginity, but not to maintain

appearances in the town; he wants her forever to remain the unstained,

saintly mother/sister he imagines her to be.

Quentin did not, of course, commit incest with Caddy. And yet the

encounters he remembers are fraught with sexual overtones. When Caddy walks

in on Quentin and Natalie kissing in the barn, for instance, Quentin throws

himself into the "stinking" mud of the pigpen. When this fails to get a

response from Caddy, he wipes mud on her:

You dont you dont I'll make you I'll make you give a damn. She hit my hands

away I smeared mud on her with the other hand I couldnt feel the wet

smacking of her hand I wiped mud from my legs smeared it on her wet hard

turning body hearing her fingers going into my face but I couldnt feel it

even when the rain began to taste sweet on my lips (137).

Echoing the mud-stained drawers that symbolize her later sexuality, Quentin

smears mud on Caddy's body in a heated exchange, feeling as he does so her

"wet hard turning body." The mud is both Quentin's penance for his sexual

experimentation with Natalie and the sign of sexuality between Quentin and


The scene in the branch of the river is similarly sexual in nature. Quentin

finds Caddy at the branch trying to wash away the guilt she finds; amid the

"suck[ing] and gurgl[ing]" waves of the water. When he asks her if she

loves Dalton Ames, she places his hand on her chest and he feels her heart

"thudding" (150). He smells honeysuckle "on her face and throat like paint

her blood pounded against my hand I was leaning on my other arm it began to

jerk and jump and I had to pant to get any air at all out of that thick

gray honeysuckle;" and he lies "crying against her damp blouse" (150).

Taking out a knife, he holds it against her throat and tells her "it wont

take but a second Ill try not to hurt." She replies "no like this you have

to push it harder," and he says "touch your hand to it" (151). In this

scene we have the repetitive surging both of the water and of Caddy's blood

beneath Quentin's hand. We have the two siblings lying on top of one

another at the edge of this surging water, the pungent smell of honeysuckle

(which Quentin associates with sex throughout the section) so thick around

them that Quentin has trouble breathing. We have a knife (a common phallic

symbol) which Quentin proposes to push into Caddy's blood-flushed neck,

promising he will "try not to hurt." Overall, the scene overflows with

sexual metaphors; if the two do not actually commit incest, they certainly

do share a number of emotionally powerful, sexually loaded moments.

Quentin's wish to have committed incest is not a desire to have sex with

Caddy; that would shatter his ideals of purity even more than her

encounters with Dalton Ames. Nor is it, as we have determined, a way to

preserve the family honor. Instead, it seems to be a way to keep Caddy to

himself forever: "if it could just be a hell beyond that: the clean flame

the two of us more than dead. Then you will have only me then only me then

the two of us amid the pointing and the horror beyond the clean flame"

(116). Separated from the rest of the world by the "clean" purifying flames

of hell, Quentin and Caddy could be alone together, forever burning away

the sin of her sexuality. He would rather implicate himself in something as

horrible as incest than leave Caddy to her promiscuity or lose her through

her marriage to Herbert Head.

If time-words are the most frequently occurring words in this section, the

second most frequent is the word "shadow." Throughout his journeys, Quentin

is just as obsessed with his shadow as he is with time. For example, he

walks on his shadow as he wanders through Cambridge: "trampling my shadow's

bones . . . . I walked upon the belly of my shadow" (96). When asked what

the significance of shadows was in this section, Faulkner replied "that

shadow that stayed on his mind so much was foreknowledge of his own death,

that he was - Death is here, shall I step into it or shall I step away from

it a little longer? I won't escape it, but shall I accept it now or shall I

put it off until next Friday" (Minter, qtd. in Martin, 6). This explanation

certainly seems to fit some of Quentin's thoughts; for example, at one

point, he imagines drowning his shadow in the water of the river, just as

he will later drown himself: "my shadow leaning flat upon the water, so

easily had I tricked it . . . . if I only had something to blot it into the

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