A tale of sight and smell signifying death : Benjy Compson revisited

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Matthew L. Price (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Mark Boren

Abstract: This essay refutes the long-standing idea that Benjy Compson in Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury is merely an idiot. Instead of focusing on the issue of his language or his concept of time, an analysis of his surveillance techniques reveals Benjy’s various strategies as he exercises his power. The application of Michel Foucault's theories concerning the powers of the disciplinarian gaze forces a change in the terminology with which criticism has labeled Benjy. By the end of the essay, a re-conceptualization of Benjy’s character occurs through a simple change of words: passive to active. This change opens up new doors of understanding and suggests that Benjy is a highly manipulative agent of surveillance, instead of the traditional view that he is a simple, bellowing man-child.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Characters and characteristics in literature, Faulkner William 1897-1962 The sound and the fury--Criticism and interpretation
Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. The sound and the fury -- Criticism and interpretation
Characters and characteristics in literature

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