In this novel the "past" that Faulkner famously said is "not dead" is the personal, familial, Freudian past. The stream-of-consciousness narrative technique used in the first three sections of this novel vividly dramatizes the extent to which one's earlier life is always present, consciously or unconsciously. Throughout his section the 33-year-old Benjy Compson helplessly re-lives his childhood memories, when his beloved sister Caddy was "here" (3). His brother Quentin, knowing how painful are his own recollections of Caddy, spends his last day in Massachusetts - or anywhere - trying in vain to repress the return of memories that keep carrying him back to home and family. Their brother Jason is much less mindful of the past, seeming to live in the present, but his actions - following his niece around as twenty years earlier his mother had commissioned him to follow his sister, embezzling and locking up and constantly counting the money that is his attempt to compensate for the job in the bank that he lost twenty years ago, before he ever had it - drives home just as powerfully the way the children of Jason and Caroline Bascomb Compson are defined by what "family" as a destructive force did to them. All the "father said"s in Quentin's section reveal how his mind is inhabited by that parent, but perhaps the saddest line in his section - it is repeated twice - is Quentin's "if I'd just had a mother so I could say Mother Mother" (95, 172). The Compson family as a whole is certainly shaped by history, by the defeat of the Confederacy and the collapse of the old Southern aristocracy, and the past that provides the context for the novel's final, Easter section is the modern idea of the death of God, where the Christian faith of the "breddren en sistuhn" in the black church (295) is juxtaposed with the nihilistic darkness in which the Compson children find themselves. But although Faulkner said he never read Freud, the novel is one of literature's greatest representations of what Freud called, not without irony of his own, the family romance.
Our tree does not try to identify the father of Caddy's daughter Quentin, who represents the last of the Compsons. Some commentators assume it is Dalton Ames, the man to whom Caddy loses her virginity, but when the pregnant Caddy replies to her brother Quentin's question about her sexual history - "Have there been very many Caddy" - she says "I dont know too many" (115).

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The Sound and the Fury
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Compsons in The Sound and the Fury
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Affiliated Characters

(Miss) Quentin - The Sound and the Fury
Benjy Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Caddy Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Damuddy - The Sound and the Fury
Grandfather Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Great-grandfather Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Jason Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Maury Bascomb - The Sound and the Fury
Mr. Jason Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Mrs. Caroline Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Quentin Compson - The Sound and the Fury
Sydney Herbert Head - The Sound and the Fury
Unnamed Sexual Partners of Caddy - The Sound and the Fury