Great Books: THE SOUND AND THE FURY Part 8

April 6, 1928

It is the morning of Good Friday, 1928, Jason Compson is in the Compson house, fighting with his mother and with his niece, Quentin. This one day before the first section (where Benjy is remembered things). Jason’s sister Caddy’s marriage to Herbert Head crumbled in 1911, when it became apparent to Herbert that Caddy’s unborn child was not his. Mrs. Compson refused to let Caddy stay at home, but Mr. Compson and Dilsey saw to it that the family took in Caddy’s child, Quentin. Jason was forced to assume control of the household when Mr. Compson died of alcoholism. Jason, who in another time, might have been a wealthy southern aristocrat, now works in a hardware store. He deeply resents his situation and blames Caddy and her daughter, his niece, Quentin.

He is mean spirited and steals the money Caddy sends him to support Quentin. Mrs. Compson’s affectionfor Jason have prevented her from seeing how bad Jason is. He uses this money to play the cotton market and to pay for a prostitute in Memphis. He gives nothing to Quentin. Caddy is the only one who distrusts Jason and suspects that he is scheming.

The seventeen-year-old Quentin is a rebellious, and promiscuous girl who seems to be following her mother’s path.

Caddy tries to outfox her brother by sending a money order that only Quentin may sign. Jason thinks it is a small amount. But it is not. Miss Quentin to sign it without looking at the amount and sends her on her way. While Jason is at work, he sees Miss Quentin go by with a man wearing a red tie. Jason chases after them through the back alleys of Jefferson. He is interrupted by a boy with a telegram, who tells Jason that his account in the cotton market is significantly down.

Jason angrily goes home, and, driving back into town, is nearly run down by a Ford driven by the man with the red tie. Luster tells Jason that Miss Quentin and Mrs. Compson are upstairs fighting, and that Dilsey is trying to keep the peace. Luster wants to go to the minstrel show very badly and tells Jason he needs a quarter to buy a ticket. Jason has two tickets that he does not want, but he burns up the two tickets in the stove while Luster watches.

Jason goes inside and Dilsey serves dinner. Jason does not explicitly mention that he saw Miss Quentin with the man in the red tie, but alludes to it indirectly several times.

Discussion Questions

A. What would be a good title for this section?

B. Why is Jason so angry?

C. What does the Bible say about unforgivingness?

D. Jason is in many ways as dead as Quentin (his brother). Explain.

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