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Female protagonists in the sound and the fury and as I lay dying

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  1. Parallels between 'The Sound and the Fury' and 'As I Lay Dying'.
  2. The significance of the parallels between the male characters.
  3. The female characters of Addie Bundren.
  4. The character of Dewey Dell in As I Lay Dying.
  5. The character of Cora in As I Lay Dying.
  6. The monologues of Quentin and Darl.
  7. The final enduring figure - Cash.

?The following Ralph Ellison quote is often found on the book jackets of William Faulkner's novels: ?For all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for the greatness of our classics.? In The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying the South is central to his thematic intentions, and that South is in many ways a metaphor for man at large. However, there are aspects to both novels that comment specifically on the South and is regionally significant to that South, both Old and New. One aspect is the thematic centrality of female characters. Female characters are the main vehicle through which Faulkner comments on the downfall of the Old South, provides criticisms regarding the direction of the New South and suggestions colored with his moral purpose for a better direction in which he would like to witness his beloved South take.

[...] In As I Lay Dying, the character of Darl is imbued with a similar significance as Quentin. Darl says, don't know what I am. I don't know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or (80). Darl is confused regarding his identity, and he attributes it to his own self-knowledge of not having self- knowledge. This loss of identity parallels Quentin's confusion because both are unable to exist in the New South. [...]

[...] This is similar to Faulkner's thematic intentions the The Sound and the Fury because if Caddy and Miss Quentin were not alienated, then the Compsons may be saved, but as Dilsey reminds the reader, ?I've seed de first en de last, [ ] I seed de beginnin, en now I sees de endin? (297). The Compson line cannot continue, and thus they are not fulfilling their duty to live because they cannot cope with the darkness that Addie speaks of; in many ways, they are too caught up in words and the past to overcome it, and Addie's refusal to be imprisoned by words, force her to place emphasis on action. [...]

[...] (238) Cash's statement helps to make sense out of all the happenings in both The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. There is a sane and insane person in everyone, and there are times in the past when their sanity or insanity may manifest itself, and it is important that the sanity or insanity is not permanent. Life is ever-changing and people are dynamic; the meaning of endurance is the ability to survive and learn from these changes, like Jewel and Cash and Dilsey do. [...]

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