Saturday, 16 November 2013

Other musings on "The sound and the fury"

1/ Faulker explained about how he wrote "The sound and the fury": 
"That began as a short story, it was a story without plot, of some children being sent away from the house during the grandmother’s funeral. They were too young to be told what was going on and they saw things only incidentally to the childish games they were playing, which was the lugubrious matter of removing the corpse from the house, etc., and then the idea struck me to see how much more I could have got out of the idea of the blind, self-centeredness of innocence, typified by children, if one of those children had been truly innocent, that is, an idiot. So the idiot was born and then I became interested in the relationship of the idiot to the world that he was in but would never be able to cope with and just where could he get the tenderness, the help, to shield him in his innocence. I mean ‘innocence’ in the sense that God had stricken him blind at birth, that is, mindless at birth, there was nothing he could ever do about it. And so the character of his sister began to emerge, then the brother, who, that Jason (who to me represented complete evil. He’s the most vicious character in my opinion I ever thought of), then he appeared. Then it needs the protagonist, someone to tell the story, so Quentin appeared. By that time I found out I couldn’t possibly tell that in a short story. And so I told the idiot’s experience of that day, and that was incomprehensible, even I could not have told what was going on; then, so I had to write another chapter. Then I decided to let Quentin tell his version of that same day, or that same occasion, so he told it. Then there had to be the counterpoint, which was the other brother, Jason. By that time it was completely confusing. I knew that it was not anywhere near finished and then I had to write another section from the outside with an outsider, which was the writer, to tell what happened on that particular day. And that’s how that book grew. That is, I wrote that same story four times. None of them were right, but I had anguished so much that I could not throw any of it away and start over, so I printed it in the four sections. That was not a deliberate tour de force at all, the book just grew that way. That I was still trying to tell one story which moved me very much and each time I failed, but I had put so much anguish into it that I couldn’t throw it away, like the mother that had four bad children, that she would have been better off if they all had been eliminated, but she couldn’t relinquish any of them. And that’s the reason I have the most tenderness for that book, because it failed four times."

2/ Now I understand why Caroline changes the name of his retarded/ autistic son from Maury to Benjamin (Benjy's his nickname). Not to change his luck (Benjamin's a name in the Bible), as I thought. But because she has an obsession with names- she tries to define a Bascomb as distinct from a Compson and draws a line between the 2 and thus only cares about Jason, whom she sees as the only true Bascomb, ignoring her other children. When Benjy's name is changed he no longer has the same name with her brother Maury Bascomb, and by this act she pushes him to the other side so that it doesn't tarnish the name of her family. 

3/ "The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist's way of scribbling 'Kilroy was here' on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass." (William Faulkner) 

4/ How does Caddy love her brother Quentin? What does she think and feel about him? 
I believe it's her, not anyone else, who names her daughter Quentin. And she chooses the name Quentin. Not Benjy. Not Jason. Not Caroline. Not Caddy. Not something entirely different. But Quentin. 
How's that relationship? Any more than that between a sister and a brother? We know Quentin's side, not Caddy's.

I will not watch the 1959 adaptation, and the post also reinforces my thought that neither should I watch any other adaptation of this novel, including the one James Franco's planning on.  
"The sound and the fury" is not unfilmable, perhaps even easier than "As I lay dying". But this book I hold dear to my heart, particularly Caddy and Quentin, and I have specific ideas about Benjy (as written previously, that I think he has autism, not Down syndrome or similar kinds) and if a film adaptation is an interpretation, a way of understanding the original work, it's very likely that the filmmakers and I don't share the same vision and this is 1 of those occasions when I have a specific vision in my head and do not like others' to interfere with it.
But I will watch James Franco's "As I lay dying". Curious how he adapted it.

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