The Sound and the Fury

This section of the book is commonly referred to as "Benjy's section" because it is narrated by the retarded youngest

The Sound and the Fury

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hands in his pockets and lets him hold the letter. She wonders why Uncle Maury did not send Versh with the letter. They cross the frozen branch and come to the Patterson's fence. Caddy takes the letter and climbs the fence to deliver it. Mrs. Patterson comes out of the house.

Benjy delivers a letter to Mrs. Patterson alone, spring 1903: Benjy is eight years old.

Benjy is at the Patterson's fence. Mr. Patterson is in the garden cutting flowers. Mrs. Patterson runs from the house to the fence, and Benjy cries when he sees her angry eyes. She says that she told Maury not to send Benjy alone again, and asks Benjy to give her the letter. Mr. Patterson comes running, climbs the fence and takes the letter. Benjy runs away.

Caddy wears perfume, 1906: Benjy is ten years old and Caddy is fourteen.

Caddy tries to hug Benjy but he cries and pushes her away. Jason says that he must not like her "prissy dress," and says that she thinks she is all grown up just because she is fourteen. Caddy tries to hush Benjy, but he disturbs their mother, who calls them to her room. Mother tells Caddy to give Benjy his box full of cut-out stars. Caddy walks to the bathroom and washes the perfume off. Benjy goes to the door. Caddy opens the door and hugs him; she smells like trees again. They go into Caddy's room and she sits at her mirror. Benjy starts to cry again. She gives him the bottle of perfume to smell and he runs away, crying. She realizes what made him cry and tells him she will never wear it again. They go to the kitchen, and Caddy tells Dilsey that the perfume is a present from Benjy to her. Dilsey takes the bottle, and Caddy says that "we don't like perfume ourselves" (43).

Caddy in the swing, 1907?: Benjy is eleven or twelve and Caddy is fifteen or sixteen.

Benjy is out in the yard at night. T. P. calls for him through the window. He watches the swing, where there are "two now, then one in the swing" (47). Caddy comes running to him, asking how he got out. She calls for T. P. Benjy cries and pulls at her dress. Charlie, the boy she is with on the swing, comes over and asks where T. P. is. Benjy cries and she tells Charlie to go away. He goes, and she calls for T. P. again. Charlie comes back and puts his hands on Caddy. She tells him to stop, because Benjy can see, but he doesn't. She says she has to take Benjy to the house. She takes his hand and they run to the house and up the porch steps. She hugs him, and they go inside. Charlie is calling her, but she goes to the kitchen sink and scrubs her mouth with soap. Benjy sees that she smells like trees again.

Benjy sleeps alone for the first time, 1908: Benjy is thirteen years old.

Dilsey tells Benjy that he is too old to sleep with anyone else, and that he will sleep in Uncle Maury's room. Uncle Maury has a black eye and a swollen mouth, and Father says that he is going to shoot Mr. Patterson. Mother scolds him and father apologizes. He is drunk.

Dilsey puts Benjy to bed alone, but he cries, and Dilsey comes back. Then Caddy comes in and lies in the bed with him. She smells like trees. Dilsey says she will leave the light on in Caddy's room so she can go back there after Benjy has fallen asleep.

Caddy loses her virginity, 1909: Benjy is fourteen years old and Caddy is eighteen.

Caddy walks quickly past the door where mother, father, and Benjy are. Mother calls her in, and she comes to the door. She glances at Benjy, then glances away. He begins to cry. He goes to her and pulls at her dress, crying. She is against the wall, and she starts to cry. He chases her up the stairs, crying. She stops with her back against the wall, crying, and looks at him with her hand on her mouth. Benjy pushes her into the bathroom.

Caddy's wedding, 1910: Benjy is fifteen years old and Caddy is nineteen.

Benjy, Quentin, and T. P. are outside the barn, and T. P. has given Benjy some sarsaparilla to drink; they are both drunk. Quentin pushes T. P. into the pig trough. They fight, and T. P. pushes Benjy into the trough. Quentin beats T. P., who can't stop laughing. He keeps saying "whooey!". Versh comes and yells at T. P. Quentin gives Benjy some more sarsaparilla to drink, and he cries. T. P. takes him to the cellar, and then goes to a tree outside the parlor. T. P. drinks some more. He gets a box for Benjy to stand on so he can see into the parlor. Through the window, Benjy can see Caddy in her wedding veil, and he cries out, trying to call to her. T. P. tries to quiet him. Benjy falls down and hits his head on the box. T. P. drags him to the cellar to get more sarsaparilla, and they fall down the stairs into the cellar. They climb up the stairs and fall against the fence and the box. Benjy is crying loudly, and Caddy comes running. Quentin also comes and begins kicking T. P. Caddy hugs Benjy, but she doesn't smell like trees any more, and Benjy begins to cry.

Benjy at the gate crying, 1910.

Benjy is in the house looking at the gate and crying, and T. P. tells him that no matter how hard he cries, Caddy is not coming back.

Later, Benjy stands at the gate crying, and watches some schoolgirls pass by with their satchels. Benjy howls at them, trying to speak, and they run by. Benjy runs along the inside of the fence next to them to the end of his yard. T. P. comes to get him and scolds him for scaring the girls.

Quentin's death, 1910.

Benjy is lying in T. P.'s bed at the servants' quarters, where T. P. is throwing sticks into a fire. Dilsey and Roskus discuss Quentin's death without mentioning his name or Caddy's name. Roskus talks about the curse on the family, saying "aint the sign of it laying right there on that bed. Aint the sign of it been here for folks to see fifteen years now" (29). Dilsey tells him to be quiet, but he continues, saying that there have been two signs now (Benjy's retardation and Quentin's death), and that there would be one more. Dilsey warns him not to mention Caddy's name. He replies that "they aint no luck on this place" (29). Dilsey tucks Benjy into T. P.'s bed and pulls the covers up.

Benjy attacks a girl outside the gate and is castrated, 1911: Benjy is sixteen years old.

Benjy is standing at the gate crying, and the schoolgirls come by. They tell each other that he just runs along the inside of the fence and can't catch them. He unlatches the gate and chases them, trying to talk to them. They scream and run away. He catches one girl and tries to talk to her, perhaps tries to rape her.

Later, father talks about how angry Mr. Burgess (her father) is, and wants to know how Benjy got outside the gate. Jason says that he bets father will have to send Benjy to the asylum in Jackson now, and father tells him to hush.

Mr. Compson's death, 1912: Benjy is seventeen.

Benjy wakes up and T. P. brings him into the kitchen where Dilsey is singing. She stops singing when Benjy begins to cry. She tells T. P. to take him outside, and they go to the branch and down by the barn. Roskus is in the barn milking a cow, and he tells T. P. to finish milking for him because he can't use his right hand any more. He says again that there is no luck on this place.

Later that day, Dilsey tells T. P. to take Benjy and the baby girl Quentin down to the servants' quarters to play with Luster, who is still a child. Frony scolds Benjy for taking a toy away from Quentin, and brings them up to the barn. Roskus is watching T. P. milk a cow.

Later, T. P. and Benjy are down by the ditch where Nancy's bones are. Benjy can smell father's death. T. P. takes Benjy and Quentin to his house, where Roskus is sitting next to the fire. He says "that's three, thank the Lawd . . . I told you two years ago. They aint no luck on this place" (31). He comments on the bad luck of never mentioning a child's mother's name and bringing up a child never to know its mother. Dilsey shushes him, asking him if he wants to make Benjy cry again. Dilsey puts him to bed in Luster's bed, laying a piece of wood between him and Luster.

Mr. Compson's funeral, 1912.

Benjy and T. P. wait at the corner of the house and watch Mr. Compson's casket carried by. Benjy can see his father lying there through the glass in the casket.

Trip to the cemetery, 1912.

Benjy waits for his mother to get into the carriage. She comes out and asks where Roskus is. Dilsey says that he can't move his arms today, so T. P. will drive them. Mother says she is afraid to let T. P. drive, but she gets in the carriage anyway. Mother says that maybe it would be for the best if she and Benjy were killed in an accident, and Dilsey tells her not to talk that way. Benjy begins to cry and Dilsey gives him a flower to hold. They begin to drive, and mother says she is afraid to leave the baby Quentin at home. She asks T. P. to turn the carriage around. He does, and it tips precariously but doesn't topple. They return to the house, where Jason is standing outside with a pencil behind his ear. Mother tells him that they are going to the cemetery, and he asks her if that was all she came back to tell him. She says she would feel safer if he came, and he tells her that Father and Quentin won't hurt her. This makes her cry, and Jason tells her to stop. Jason tells T. P. to drive, and they take off again.

Roskus's death, later 1920s: Luster is old enough to take care of Benjy by now.

Dilsey is "moaning" at the servants' quarters. Benjy begins to cry and the dog begins to howl, and Dilsey stops moaning. Frony tells Luster to take them down to the barn, but Luster says he won't go down ther

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