The Sound and the Fury — страница 6

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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, as Benjy watches the various members of his family move in and out of the mirror:

"Caddy and Jason were fighting in the mirror . we could see Caddy fighting in the mirror and Father put me down and went into the mirror and fought too . He rolled into the corner, out of the mirror. Father brought Caddy to the fire. They were all out of the mirror" (64-65). The mirror is a frame of reference through which Benjy sees the world; people are either in or out of the mirror, and he does not understand the concept of reflection. Like the mirror, Benjy's section of the book provides readers with a similar exact reflection of the world that Benjy sees, framed by his memories. Characters slide in and out of the mirror of his perception, their conversations and actions accurately reported but somewhat distorted in the process. As the "tale told by an

idiot," Benjy's section makes up the center kernel of the story of the Compson family tragedy. And the scene of Damuddy's death in many ways makes up the center around which this section and the entire story revolve. Faulkner has said that the story grew out of the image of a little girl's muddy drawers as she climbs a tree to look into the parlor windows at the funeral taking place. From this image a story evolved, a story "without plot, of some children being sent away from the house during the grandmother's funeral. There were too young to be told what was going on and they saw things only incidentally to the childish games they were playing" (Millgate, 96). This original story was entitled "Twilight," and the story grew into a novel because Faulkner

fell in love with the character of this little girl to such an extent that he strove to tell her story from four different viewpoints. If this one scene is the center of the story, it is also a microcosm of the events to follow. The interactions of the children in this scene prefigure their relations in the future and in fact the entire future of the Compson family. Thus Caddy's soaking her dress in the water of the branch is a metaphor for the sexual fall that will torment Quentin and ruin the family: She was wet. We were playing in the branch and Caddy squatted down and got her dress wet and Versh said, "Your mommer going to whip you for getting your dress wet." "It's not wet." Caddy said. She stood up in the water and looked at her dress. "I'll take it

off." she said. "Then it'll be dry." "I bet you won't." Quentin said. "I bet I will." Caddy said. "I bet you better not." Quentin said. "You just take your dress off," Quentin said. Caddy took her dress off and threw it on the bank. Then she didn't have on anything but her bodice and drawers, and Quentin slapped her and she slipped and fell down in the water (17-18). Caddy sullies her garments in an act that prefigures her later sexuality. She then takes off her dress, a further sexual metaphor, causing Quentin to become enraged and slap her. Just as the loss of her virginity upsets Quentin to the point of suicide, his angry and embarrassed reaction to taking off her dress here reveals the jealous protectiveness he feels for

her sexuality. Benjy, too, is traumatized by the muddying of Caddy's dress: "Caddy was all wet and muddy behind, and I started to cry and she came and squatted in the water" (19). Just as her sexuality will cause his world to crack later on, her muddy dress here causes him to cry. Jason, too, is a miniature version of what he will become in this scene. While Caddy and Quentin fight in the branch, Jason stands "by himself further down the branch," prefiguring the isolation from the rest of his family that will characterize his later existence (19). Although the other children ask him not to tell their father that they have been playing in the branch, the first thing he does when he sees father is tattle. He is as perverse and mean here as he is sadistic in the