The Sound And The Fury: Jason Analysis

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In William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner exemplifies that Jason’s hostile actions are the result of his obligation to protect the Compson name.

Jason’s desire to uphold his family name is clear in his actions towards his niece, Ms. Quentin. While driving in the car together, Quentin says she never uses Jason’s money and would “tear it [her dress] right off and throw it into the street” if Jason buy it, which angers him to “grab her [Quentin’s] hands there with a dozen people looking” and threatens to “make her sorry she ever drew breath” if Quentin “does a thing like that again” (Faulkner 118). Linda Welshimer Wagner’s “Jason Compson: The Demands of Honor” outlines Jason’s perception that “if he is to be in charge, he must control Quentin” because he believes that Quentin’s behaviour does not uphold the Compson name. This becomes particularly clear when “Jason follows Quentin and the man with the red tie” and he repeatedly realizes how “Quentin betrayed the family name” due to lack of “consideration for her family” and failing to “have any discretion” (Wagner 565). Quentin’s relationship with the man in the red tie is troubling for Jason, as it reminds him of Caddy’s relationship with Dalton Ames, which resulted in a premarital pregnancy. Later as Jason finds that Quentin has taken “his” money, he wants to get the money back so “the whole world” to know that he “had been robbed by Quentin, his niece, a bitch” (Faulkner 192). The robbery angered Jason because the “paradoxical family loyalty was betrayed” and the embarrassment of being robbed by a woman, both ideas tarnishing the Compson name. (Wagner 567).

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While some may believe that Jason’s relationship with Benjy is filled with malice and hatred, Faulkner illustrates how Jason’s actions have an underlying principle of honor for his family name. After attacking the girls who were walking home from school, Benjy looks in the mirror and “begins to cry” while Luster tells him that “looking for them ain’t going to do no good” because “they’re gone” (Faulkner 47), revealing how Jason had Benjy castrated after the attack in order to sexual control him. Joseph C. Murphy’s “The Sound and the Fury: Criticism” discusses how “the spectacle of Benjy on the borders of the Compson property, in public view” frightens Jason because “Benjy is a constant affront to Jason’s effort to shore up the family image” (Murphy 3). While Jason (add) When Mr. Compson confronts Jason about the attack, Jason claims that he “has better sense” than to leave the gate open and it would be beneficial to “send him [Benjy] to Jackson” like he has been saying “all the time” because “this family is bad enough” (Faulkner 33). Furthermore, the novel’s appendix reveals that Benjy was “committed to the State Asylum, Jackson” in 1933, displaying that Jason’s wishes were eventually fulfilled (Faulkner 213). To Jason, the image of a mentally retarded brother in his house was embarresing and tarnished the Compson name.  


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