2017 年 53 巻 p. 37-54
The mythical structure of The Sound and the Fury-the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because of Eve’s sin-can be criticized for its male-centric perspective, but we must remember that the novel describes reveries about the absence of “home” that underlie the depths of Quentin and Caddy Compson’s minds. This paper focuses not only on their mother’s longing for modern values despite her supposed embodiment of traditional values but also Caddy’s anguish and ambivalence over her own embodiment of modern values due to her internalization of traditional values. It then demonstrates how Quentin superimposes the contradiction and conflict between mother and daughter upon “Paradise Lost.” Quentin’s vision of the Virgin Mary derives from his sense of his mother’s absence, and he experiences the collapse of the “Holy Family” in his relationship with Caddy. By analyzing Quentin’s biblical view, this article attempts to situate The Sound and the Fury as a literary text open to the context of Catholicism.
In the biblical reading, Caddy’s denial of Quentin’s touching her body by saying “Dont touch me” on the eve of her wedding evokes, in the inversion of gender, the scene of “Noli Me Tangere”-Jesus Christ’s admonition of Mary Magdalene not to touch him just before ascending to the “Father”-in the Gospel According to St. John. Caddy’s transfiguration from the sensual living person being touched to the dead one prohibiting physical touch suggests the disappearances of the southern “lady” and the substitute “mother” for Quentin. Caddy reveals these disappearances to Quentin, that is, the fact that she no longer exists inside the “family” in which her brother wishes her to stay and that the illusion of “Mother” that he secretly fancied in her has already disintegrated. The above scene marks the collapse of Quentin’s imaginary “Holy Family” and the emergence of the modern as the “Father.” This is not only because Caddy’s departure from Eden means the ascension to the “Father” but also because Quentin encounters the collapse of the “Mother” fancied in Caddy as the reality of the modern that has become the pivot of the “Father” conquering and controlling the American South.
Faulkner’s modernism is both a marginal creative act rooted in the cultural climate of the American South and a universal literary movement describing the continuity and discontinuity between a paradise lost and a paradise regained. The novel describes Quentin’s projection of the biblical world onto his life with Caddy, modernity’s power to encroach on and even destroy his ideal fictional space, and the world in which such modern movement is certainly becoming the new principle of the “Father” controlling and leading all the values. By sublimating the “actual” reflection of his own experiences into the “apocryphal,” Faulkner continued to write the novel, and weaving the biblical world into the narrative as a transparent picture, he depicted the loss and collapse of the Compson family on the canvas that unifies the modern and the classic.