The Sound of My Fury Toward Overrated Authors Who Confuse Me

I bought three William Faulkner books and forced myself to read them all.

One of them had a family trying to move their dead mom all over town.  One of them had somebody looking for the father of her kid.  And one of them was called The Sound and the Fury.

If you ever want to be so confused that your brain starts to ooze out your ears, read The Sound and the Fury.  I defy you to make one bit of sense out of that monstrosity.  Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character, one of whom is mentally retarded (or, in the parlance of today, an “individual with an intellectual disability.”)

You could pour words out of a bucket and end up with a more comprehensible book than that.

So thanks to William Faulkner, I am now done reading fiction.  Now I have moved on to watching movies by famous directors.

One of those directors whose films I am now watching is Howard Hawks.  One of his movies is The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Yesterday I watched The Big Sleep.  I followed the plot for about ten minutes.  Then the thing exploded into the most ridiculously complicated storyline I have ever seen, involving twenty-five different characters, all of whom are lying and killing and lying about the killing.

By the end, I didn’t care who killed whom.  I just wanted them all to die so that the film would end.  Mercifully, after what seemed like the better part of three days, it did.

So at the end of the movie, I checked the credits.  And I saw this:

“Screenplay by William Faulkner”


I am now going to find every literary critic who ever called Faulkner a great writer and punch them in the head.  Then I’m going to find every movie critic who ever praised The Big Sleep and punch them in the head.

And if all that fails to dissipate my anger, I’m going to Oxford, Mississippi where I will unbury William Faulkner and punch him in the head.

Then I’ll confess to my criminal spree in a book I’ll call Stephan’s Sound and the Fury.  But no one will be able to arrest me, despite what I put in the book.

Because no one will understand it.

Because I’ll write the entire thing from the perspective of  “an individual with an intellectual disability.”

Take that, William Faulkner.

119 thoughts on “The Sound of My Fury Toward Overrated Authors Who Confuse Me

  1. All those years of school and they never taught you to read. What a pity.

  2. Don’t you write everything that way?


    PS – I saw you changed your wording.

  3. This is so funny and true.

    A couple of years ago a also bought a set of three books by Faulkner. I got half way through the first one and I couldn’t take it anymore.

    I’ve been known to read some crap, but even I have my limits.

    It’s good to see that I’m not the only that finds Faulkner unreadable.

    Let me know when you’re going to Mississippi. I’ll join you!

  4. Thank you! Ever since I and a few other students did a high school presentation (8 years ago) on “The Sound and the Fury” I’ve been trying to expose it for the horrible book it is. Stream of conscious is one thing, but stream of conscious from a mentally retarded character is another.

    The only thing I can cohesively remember from the story is that the retarded character gets castrated at some point. To help illustrate that in our presentation, we brought in cocktail wieners for everyone to enjoy moments before we told them the significance.

    Good times…

  5. I know that I read The Sound and The Fury, but I can’t remember a word of it. What that means is that it was so painful that I skimmed the entire book. I did, however, reach the conclusion at the grand old age of 17 that Faulkner was nuts, and his books weren’t worth reading.

    I do love those movies though, where half way through you wish everyone would just die already.

  6. Shawn’s post for the win – had me laughing out loud.

    And Stephan, thanks for the warning. I’ve been slowly working through a “classics” reading list of books that I never got around to reading in high school or college – books like Catcher in the Rye, Slaughterhouse Five, Walden, etc. Now I know to scratch Faulkner’s books off that list.

    I only wish someone had warned me about Moby-Dick before I slogged my way through it.

  7. This has to be your best post ever. Too damn funny and right on the nose about Faulkner. Better stay away from another Bogey/Bacall film, “Too Have and Have Not”. Faulkner wrote that script too.

  8. I don’t believe I’ve ever read any of his work. And I’m not going to start. I have a long standing rule of not reading books by authors with the middle name “Cuthbert.” It has served me well.

  9. FTW Shawn!
    Speaking of movies where you just wish everyone in it would just snuff it…
    Anyone watched Master and Commander… I fervently wished for both boats to sink all hands lost. ugh

  10. Flip the DVD over! The original 1945 release of the film (the “film noir” edit) makes a heck of a lot more sense than the 1946 “movie star” edit which removed plot points and explanations to jam in more scenes with Bogie & Bacall.

  11. I’m betting now you’ll check who wrote the screenplay BEFORE watching the movie, though. So that’s a plus.

  12. I was almost snorting soda through my nose while reading this. Hahaha…

    Try Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo” with Dean Martin, John Wayne, and Ricky Nelson. MUCH better!

  13. AGREED! I read a Faulkner book in high school, I must have successfully mentally blocked it as the title escapes me now… but I swear there was a sentence that went on for three and a half pages.

  14. the entire time I read this, I thought I was reading Rat’s blog. LOL. Too funny.

  15. Faulkner’s an acquired taste.
    I never acquired it.
    On the other hand, there’s a guy who does Nobel-quality stuff about a pig, a deranged mouse, a duck with weapons, and some other misfits. I recommend his work. Nine out of ten dentists agree.

  16. I have had to read Faulkner several times as part of my English Literature degree and I can say, I agree completely! I hated having to read him and could make neither heads nor tails out of what he was trying to say. I read the first 30 pages of The Sound and the Fury without even realizing that the character was mentally disabled. It was silly. Thank you Stephan for saying what so many poor English students have been thinking for decades…Faulkner is evil!

  17. This strip hangs in my office cube.

    I have this book but have never read it. Probably because of this strip…

  18. Being from Oxford (and I think I emailed this to you when that strip was first published), I must agree with you.

    “If Faulkner wrote it drunk, I should be able to read it drunk.” In fact, at Ole Miss I was given good advice when it came to writing for the school paper: “Hemingway was a journalist. Faulkner was not.” I still prefer Hemingway.

    One bit of advice if you do make it to Oxford, students go to Faulkner’s grave often with a fifth of Jack and pour a couple of shots on his grave so they can “drink with Bill”. There is, however, a bronze statue of him on the Square. He’s sitting on a park bench in front of the Courthouse. You may not be surprised by the photos that have been taken with ol’ Bill. 🙂

    Let me know if you’re this way and I’ll give you the townie tour.

  19. You forgot to mention that the retarded character in ‘The Sound and the Fury’ is also castrated. Just trying to help.

  20. I never had the pleasure of reading that book, but I did read As I Lay Dying, which wasn’t bad at all. Of course, it always makes it easier to read when you’re discussing it in class and can use SparkNotes.

  21. yes, all of us high school students are cheering. We read Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations. Fortunatly, none of us had great expectations for the book. We used SparkNotes.

  22. thanks stephan, you made my day

    i remember your strip appearing last year right after our english class had finished reading the sound and the fury. i cut it out and saved it immediately.

    btw i was so ready to set that book on fire. i think i will.

  23. I enjoyed the movie version with Yul Brynner (with hair!!) and Joanne Woodward made in 1959. Based on that, I got the book from the library and tried to read it. HORRIBLE!!!

    Try “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” equally awful!

  24. I felt Mark Twain’s books were just simple “boy stories” not great literature. My English teacher wanted me tried for blasphemy.

  25. You think Sound and Fury was bad? Be grateful it wasn’t “As I Lay Dying”…

  26. You might not be able to blame Faulkner for The Big Sleep, the novel is equally byzantine. Even Raymond Chandler admitted he didn’t entirely understand the plot… and he wrote it!

    That being said, I read “As I Lay Dying” and liked it a lot. Oh, wait, no… I read “As I Lay Dying” and pretended I liked it a lot so people would think I’m smart.

  27. I avoid authors like Faulkner whose works contain no humor whatsoever. It shows a lack of verisimilitude and/or an author who takes himself entirely too seriously.

  28. FTW!!!

    I read The Sound and the Fury when I was 20 — never again.

    This is coming from someone who actually enjoys Tolstoy and is in the middle of reading War and Peace.

  29. I haven’t read Faulkner, but I’ll take your word for it. And now, let the fury begin, but “Catcher in the Rye” and J.D. Salinger are overrated. I think Salinger was a big phony. The book’s not incomprehensible, I’ll grant that, but thoroughly overrated. A great quote: “Salinger was . . . the greatest mind ever to stay in prep school.” And I read one Hemingway book in school, “The Old Man and the Sea.” I was rooting for the fish.

    Now, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is a great book. I must disagree, Sherry F.

  30. Sounds like you and me are fighting then! Cause I think that The Big Sleep is one of the greatest movies ever made. Part of the reason it doesn’t make a lot of sense on the first viewing is because all of the pornography parts of the storyline were heavily censored for 1940s America. I’d do some internet research and watch it again…

  31. I read WF because an English teacher at the community college said I might like him since I liked T.R. Pearson, who was clever and amusing, but rarely punctuated. I got through a few WF titles to prove I could, but he wasn’t clever or amusing, and punctuated even less than Mr. Pearson. I now have a permanent distain for depressing southern crap full of stereotypical racism and general misery. I don’t think Faulkner’s south was relevant to anybody.

  32. I stayed confused in literature! Probably because when I read something confusing, I think of something interesting. Didn’t help much on tests. Keep up the good work, no literature.

  33. In undergrad, I wrote my senior thesis on Faulkner. I never hated someone as much as I did him. Ugh, ugh, ugh!

  34. Incomprehensible so-called “great” books. I’d love to hear what you have to say about Twilight and its sequels


  35. On behalf of all high school students who’ve had this shitty book forced upon them i thank you. You are a gentlemen and a scholar.

  36. I laughed so much =D it was just so funny when you said ill “un-bury William Faulkner and punch him in the head” =).=O but don’t you think you might be too harsh. or maybe that’s just because i never read them =). oh and i know you hate these things: =). so i just thought i’d throw some in. i hope you don’t get mad =(

  37. I love Faulkner, well I did when I was a retarded teenager. This post made me Laugh sooo out loud.

  38. Let me piss off a few zillion people by adding Tolkien to your list. Read The Hobbit and the TLOTR in high school because everyone said how great they were. Best books ever written. Blah blah blah. Wanted to rip my eyes out – like reading Chaucer. Anyway, a few years later I watched the Rankin/Bass cartoon version of the Hobbit with Orson Bean as Bilbo. At the end I pretty much said, “That’s what the book was about?” Read it again – sort of – and figured out that what Orson Bean did in an hour Tolkien told in a book that took 6 months to read. Faulkner with elves.

  39. I have tried a few times to read William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald and was annoyed after the first chaper of both books. And Jack Keourac also! All “On the Road” did was make me hate jazz music and beatnics. And I’m an English major! You know who also is extremely overrated? Shakespeare! I had to take a whole (yes whole!) semester of him just to get my English Literature degree. English Literature is so subjective but you will never, ever be allowed to critize Shakespeare in any literature class. It was the longest 16 weeks of my life and that includes my first marriage.
    Give me Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, Dante, anyday of the week.
    And I like the Twilight series Alyssa. It definetly is NOT great writing but a good story nonetheless.

  40. Truman Capote and Tennesse Williams got the Southern Gothic genre right where Faulkner clearly fell flat.

  41. I had a feeling Rat would take out your personal in the strip. You, unlike the lions Zebra once wrote to in 2005 (I think), have your own creative outlet for disappointments, anger, and whatnot.

    I will clap for Rat- WF is unreadable.
    Next time you bag on him (hopefully in another daily) you can sick Snuffles or Guard Duck on him.
    Maybe both Snuffles and Guard Duck.

    You can see where I’m going with this.

  42. Wait til you try James Joyce, and I don’t mean Finnegan’s Wake Joyce either. You will tear your hair out.

  43. Great blog, Steph. I tried reading Sound & F about a year ago. Filling in one of those literacy gaps, you know. Stuff we’re “supposed” to read as educated people. My forehead still has the scars!

    And as much as I like Raymond Chandler, the Big Sleep doesn’t work as a book either!

  44. Huh. Well, whadoyaknow. I always thought The Sound And The Fury was about a Plymouth parked by an inlet.

  45. Which is why I only read magazine articles, follow comic trips, and look out for museum artifacts…”since brevity is the soul of wit.”

  46. I feel the same way about Hemingway — not that Hemingway makes no sense, he is an easy read. But I truly loathe Hemingway. The “symbolism” is about as subtle as a drunk at a wedding with an open bar. HATE IT. “KILL SOMETHING AND THEN YOU ARE TRULY A MAN.” Thanks…

    I have to read Faulkner now. I generally like the “classics” but am wondering if I will feel the same. I have to know now! I’ll let you know if I claw my eyes out…

  47. I must be lucky, as I was never forced to read anything by William Faulkner back in High School (and I still haven’t today). However I couldn’t escape Shakespeare or “The Great Gatsby”, as they both completely lost me and Shakespeare puts me right to sleep.

    …and Sound of Fury can’t possibly be any worse than the Twilight series. I tried reading the first book, but all it made me want to do was kill Bella so she can shut up and stop talking about Edward. Then punch Meyer for writing such a crappy poorly written book (thats making people even more stupid than they already are) and making millions off of it….and yes, i’m a girl who hates Twilight. Flame me all you want you Twilight-lovin’ dorks, I won’t care what you say to me.

  48. Hmmm, from the sounds of things you might want to stay away from Jeff Shaara (and his father’s “The Killer Angels,” don’t know if any of Micheal Shaara’s other works are the same). While it’s not always every chapter is from the perspective of a different character (you may at times have two or more chapters in a row from the perspective of the same character), chapters are from the perspective of different main characters. And the occasional nobody or secondary character.

    But personally I quite enjoy Shaara’s work, in part because of the deal with chapters being from the perspective of different characters.

  49. I enjoyed the movie The Reivers*, so I got the Faulkner book. AAAIIIEEEEEE. Never again.

    On the other hand, I felt that way about Thomas Hardy when forced to read him in school, looking for themes & character analysis & all that crap. Once I was out of school, I discovered just plain ol’ *reading* Hardy wasn’t half bad.

    Faulkner’s all bad.

    *Starring Steve McQueen – you can’t go wrong.

  50. Oh, god.

    I love reading. I love reading fiction.

    In college, even though i was an econ major I took a lot of English Lit courses just because they would give me an excuse to read more than I already did.

    And then in one of my classes we got assigned Faulkner’s “As I lay dying”.

    Never again will I ever read anything by Faulkner.

  51. I rather agree on Faulkner. I tried reading “Absalom, Absalom!” and couldn’t get through it. He has the Henry James disease: an aversion to simple, declarative sentences.

    I have always rather liked Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, and Tolkein, so I will simple tastefully suggest that the pain of high school English class is rarely the author’s fault.

    Now for the truly unreadable:

    Henry Miller — “Tropic of Cancer” is a skimmed understanding of “Notes From the Underground” spun out into 250 pages, most of which feature the word for female genitalia that rhymes with “bunt”.

    William Burroughs — Dude, I’ve got this great idea! I’ll write a “novel” with no protagonist, no structure, nothing that would help the reader have the first clue what I’m babbling about other than fellatio and opiates! It will totally age well and not just be a puddle of dated slang in fifty years!

    Dan Brown — Retarded monkeys with three fingers cut off could write better books.

  52. Read some mindless drivel, “Romance-Mystery”, good for the libido, your wife will appreciate that.

  53. Andrew the Noisy – totally agree about Dan Brown. I got through two chapters of “The DaVinci Code” and quit. It wasn’t the subject matter that bothered me but the freakin’ idiotic writing. And the characters were irritating.

    And whoever hated Tolkien – agreed also. Absolutely love the LOTR trilogy in movie form (c’mon you can’t go wrong with Viggo Mortensen) but the books! UGGGHHHHH….too much singing, poetry, dancing, blah blah blah! I’m a nerdy person but even those were too nerdy for my taste.

  54. Stephan, if you think William Faulkner is bad, you really need to read Virginia Woolf, the most god awful writer ever. I read “To the Lighthouse” which is “stream of consciousness” writing. My one word review is “CRAP!”. The absolute worst. How enough people would read it let alone read anything by her and be idiotic enough to consider her a great writer shows that they have no understanding at all.

  55. I had to read Faulkner’s “A Fable” for a book club once. I believe that’s the book he actually won the Nobel Prize for. It was unreadable; I gave up about six chapters in and started looking for the longest sentence I could find, just to amuse myself. It ran a page and a half (Hemingway this guy wasn’t).

    I quit the book club shortly thereafter.

  56. knight1192, “The Killer Angels” is outstanding. I like the perspectives of multiple characters. I think the difference is that in TKA (as opposed to Faulkner) something is *actually happening*. Namely, the Battle of Gettysburg. And there is character development and decent dialogue.

  57. Oh I laughed so hard when I read this! All these years I thought I was a literary idiot! Faulkner and I have bad chemistry. I could never get through any Tolstoy either, and figure anyone that claims to have read War and Peace is a liar. You want some readable, good southern literature, try Eudora Welty, she’s a gem.

  58. Little Know Fact: Faulkner had a bounty of $500 to anyone who would bring him the pelt of cartoonist.
    I don’t believe the offer has expired. His estate would still honor it.

  59. In my last two years of high school I read two books I would classify as the worst I’ve ever read. The first has already been mentioned: Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” The second was Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” (yes, the book that inspired Apocalypse Now, which I also didn’t care much for). I remember reading “Catcher in the Rye” and hearing how people praised it as this wonderful literary work, but when I finally got through it, my only response was, “What the hell was the point of that?” Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” was just painful to read; I have no idea how I ever made it through that.

    Read “The Great Gatsby” too; though it might not be saying much, I considered it a much better read than either “Catcher in the Rye” or “Heart of Darkness.”

  60. Dr. Alice, I am glad to know you enjoyed “The Killer Angels” and I hope you do not think I do not. I hope you understood that my point was if one of Pastis’ problems with “The Sound and the Fury” was each chapter being from the perspective of a different character then they may not wish to read the Shaaras’ works (though as I said I can not speak for any of Micheal Shaara’s works beyond “The Killer Angels”).

  61. I stumbled into this blog at random through a link on a friend’s blog. (We dont have the Pearl Before Swine strip here in Malaysia) OMG! You are freaking hilarious.I love how you can take the most mundane of topics and make it such an interesting read. I love this blog! 🙂

  62. RE: LOTR. It wasn’t the singing, dancing & poetry that dragged it down for me, it was the endless battle scenes. The 3rd movie was just as bad as the 3rd book. We get it already – good vs. evil. Enough is enough.

  63. Can I suggest that that pain you feel is actually just the unfamiliar sensation of real thought? It can be quite tiring if you’re not used to it (and still is when you are).

    Finishing a book with more questions than when I began is great, but it can seem threatening.

    You can bury in dirt that which you don’t understand but questions are persistent and they don’t die easily.

  64. Don’t you hate that? Another thing is authors that over describe! A long time ago I picked up a book (can’t remember the book or the author now) and after an almost 7 page description about a tree, I gave up, and never gave him/her a second chance!

  65. hahaha “The Big Sleep” is one of the most incoherent movies ever made. especially if you read the book, which is hard to follow but definitely has a readable plot, you’ll realize that the movie just makes no sense whatsoever…

  66. Outside of a used bookstore in San Diego one time, there was this really, really weird guy (Stephan maybe?) selling a book he had written and published himself. It was something about “Johnny Appleseed something something” but not actually about Johnny Appleseed. It was about a weird tree he went into and had magical trips. No wonder no one would publish this crap. I bought a book for $5 because I actually felt sorry for him. That $5 would have been better off spent next door at Starbucks for a small cup of coffee.

    The moral – just because no one understands your crappy art does not mean you are ahead of your time and it does not make you a misunderstood genius. It just means you are a bad, bad writer.

  67. I remember reading The Sound and the Fury for an American lit class, and thinking it was possibly the worst thing I had ever picked up, and I am right there with everyone who dislikes Hemmingway. Oscar Wilde is also fairly tedious. I never read Sallinger because I had a pretentious friend who raved about him for 2 years in high school, and I decided it would be best to avoid that.

  68. knight1192, yes, I understood and was posting in agreement with you. Having gone back and read my post I realize it may not sound that way though. (Sorry for any misunderstanding.)

    I think the answer to the multiple perspectives issue is: are you interested in the characters? Do you ifentify with them? If so, then multiple perspectives can be really interesting; if not, then not.

  69. Incidentally, if you see anything with “Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” on its cover, use it for BARBEQUE FUEL and get yourself a HAIRCUT.

    On the subject of fiction though, you should check out The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss… or even just his rather entertaining blog (

  70. Even worse or just as bad is Virginia Woolfe and her “god awful” stream of consciousness writing. Reading “To the Lighthouse” my review in one succinct word CRAP!

  71. I’ve never been to this blog before and, since I so enjoy Pearls Before Swine, I wish I had not read this post or the comments.
    It all reeks of the general aversion to education and art in the United States. Reading and literature are little-valued in this country. I think if the opposite were true, those here who find Faulkner difficult would be different people who are not challenged by his writing and just might create some art themselves.
    I’ve prized reading Pearls Before Swine six days a week (and even urged newspapers to start carrying it) because of the cleverness and intelligence of the strip. I won’t be able to see it quite that way, now.
    This reminds of really loving the band Detroit Cobras, and then I heard a NPR interview in which one of the members dismissed songwriting. Since then, I have not been able to listen to the band with the same enjoyment or respect.

  72. Pingback: Top Posts —

  73. I love the “Rat the Friendly Greeter” series. This is being written as of 3-6-10, and I think that it’s a work of art, especially the way that the smiley face on Rat’s greeter desk changes into a sad face. Sorry if the phrase “as of” makes you want to punch me in the head.
    Zarion Kreena

  74. Hmmm, that seems to be a good point, Dr. Alice. I think with the Shaara’s it’s easier to identify with characters because most of them were real people. Like if you look at “The Killer Angels” about the only character who really wasn’t real was Buster Kilrain. Harrison actually exsisted though historians can’t quite agree on who was the real Harrison (there are two individuals, both named Harrison, the most likely being Henry Thomas Harrison). And Sir Arthur Fremantle was a real man who really did serve in the Cold Stream Guard and was at Gettysburg as an observer (he also observed the New York Draft Riots before returning to England). Most of the characters are going to be better known individuals from the battle, folks you likely learned about in school. All Shaara is really doing is putting words in their mouths and thoughts in there heads, really bringing them alive to the reader.

    I think that’s what needs to happen for you to be able to identify with them. They need to be alive to you, not just some character in a book. With “The Killer Angels” it’s more turning what some might call dry history into something more exciting by making folks better able to think about the historical figures as having been living, breathing people. Which is something that may not always happen in a history class. But when the characters are completely fictional the author has to get us to see them as living people even though we may know otherwise. Then we have a kind of investment in them, making chapters told from different pespectives more enjoyable. If we can’t get that investment, we can’t relate to them as if they were living characters, then the chances of us enjoying a book where each chapter is told from a different perspective is going to quite low. If not impossible.

  75. It’s me(Zarion Kreena)again. I love today’s Sunday strip, when Rat shoots Snuffles the Cat into another comic. You don’t HAVE to answer, but who did Snuffles hit, and what comic strip was he from? Thanks.

  76. Amazing that all one has to do in the world of art is make something completely incomprehensible, and the intelligentsia will eat it up and try to make everyone else feel stupid for “not getting it.” Ask one of these people to explain the book and they immediately dismiss you and refuse to consider your opinion, since you are clearly a dullard, or anti-intellectual, or something like that. I don’t know when the words “art” and “nonsense” became synonyms, but I don’t like it. Thank you, Mr. Pastis, for having the courage to stand up to these pseudo-intellectual berks.

  77. Chris M – you hit the nail on the head. I’ve always wanted to take a picture of what my cat yaks up after dinner and title it “Man’s inhumanity to man”. I’d make a million.

  78. I too agree about Faulkner. I most definitely used online help to figure out the plot when I read The Sound and the Fury in high school. What I remember was somewhere in the first section you read something about the barn disappearing and then it comes back and hits the slow son in the head. How stupid is that? I believe that Faulkner won a Nobel Prize for Literature because his work is so incomprehensible that the people that decide such things assumed it had to be genius because they couldn’t even understand it. That committee should be punched in head as well in my opinion.

  79. How does it go? Why criticize that which you do not understand. I’m sure there are people out there who do not “get” or “understand” the humor in Pearls Before Swine and would pass it off as mere nonsense or stupidity as well.

    The problem is people don’t want to actually think about what the deeper meaning is and expect to know it in five minutes and if they don’t, dismiss it, and lash out against it and say its crap.

    But then again who’s to say Stephan didn’t just write this to see what kind of reactions he would get out of us. He’s the one really getting the last laugh in all of this. Have a nice day.

  80. Thank you Rat. I’ve been a around some crazy old incoherent Southerners, but none of them were as unintelligible as Faulkner. He’s the American James Joyce–maybe Rat will read Ulysses or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man next………

  81. i still have my notes on “the sound and the fury” from high school, i can make you a copy! once the teacher explained things i reread the book and thought it was wicked interesting!!!
    i have to say though… i do wonder sometimes with authors like hemingway and faulkner if maybe all the archetypal patterns, cyclical nature of existence, blah, blah, blah… if it’s all just other people reading too much into things.
    either way, the book is a good time when you know what’s going on 🙂

  82. Sad. You’re unbelievably ignorant. To malign Chandler as well as Faulkner. Just because so many of your generation can’t begin to understand what constitutes greatness in Lit nor have the interest or skills to isn’t any reason to blame it on the author, blame it on your education and laziness. And it’s not just ignorant ones like you, it’s unfortunately those who work in publishing. I’m glad I retired from teaching.
    Shoo, me wee brained waif, go play videos games and watch movies that have to be explained and/or have lots and lots of lights, gimmicks and trashy tech trinkets that shine and you’ll do well. I hope I’m dead before you finally are outside the gates of my city.

    Doghouse Riley (remember me?)

  83. Dear boy,
    You surely did stir up a hornet’s nest there, didncha? And bless your heart, you were just so cute when you openly admitted that you couldn’t understand his writing, when most people would be entirely too prideful to do that. I have a suggestion for you regarding your lack of affinity for Mr. Faulkner. I promise you that if you did come to Oxford, Mississippi, you’d leave lovin’ Faulkner AND Mississippi. You might even talk a little funny, y’self, by the time you got back home. 🙂 Come on down. You won’t have a bigger time anywhere else.

  84. According to IMDB ‘The Big Sleep’ had a lot of plot holes from the beginning:

    “While working on the script, writers William Faulkner and Leigh Brackett couldn’t figure out from the novel who murdered a particular character. So they phoned Raymond Chandler, who angrily told them the answer was right there in the book. Chandler soon phoned to say that he looked at the book himself and couldn’t figure out who killed the character, so he left it up to them to decide. In the film as released, it isn’t resolved.”

  85. yea i know i totally cant stand thos ppl who think there better than everyone because they read “good” books like i had this friend who totally luved the da vinchi code and kept telling me to read it… i tried to read it but it was soooo boring. it was all about like these paintings and stuff from like a hundred years ago… i mean WHO CARES AOBUT THAT STUF???? LOLOL

  86. I agree!

    I have a degree in English Literature… One of my advanced classes was solely devoted to Faulkner’s works.

    The sentences are so long, they go on for paragraphs or even a whole page without punctuation.

    I’ve never even been able to comprehend his stories, much less think they’re great literature.

  87. Raymond Chandler died before he could finish writing The Big Sleep. So, a different author finished the book, and put their spin on the plot. THAT is what made it confusing.

  88. Aw, I love Faulkner… Love me some Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and As I Lay Dying (the three books alluded to in the entry). I had the pleasure of presenting a paper at a Faulkner conference at Ole Miss, and we picnicked at his house. It was bliss!

    S&F: The first three sections are told, respectively, from the perspectives of Benjy (who has Down Syndrome), Quentin (commits suicide while in college), Jason (the cynical brother whose section begins “Once a bitch, always a bitch”), and
    the fourth section is in third-person (some people call it “Dilsey’s section,” but it doesn’t actually stick with her POV). The four sections together tell the story of Caddy, sister to the first three narrators. Caddy becomes pregnant and the babydaddy runs off. Caddy’s mother contrives to have her married off to someone else, hoping that they can pass off the baby as his, but he ends up being able to count backwards from nine and leaves her. She gives birth to a baby girl she names Quentin (after her brother), and this Quentin ends up being raised by Grandma. This is why the present-tense parts also have a Quentin, albeit one who is a “she.” See, simple! 🙂

    But obviously, no author appeals to everyone. I have a Ph.D. in English but was never able to force myself to read Melville’s Billy Budd.

  89. Pingback: Random link « curiouser and curiouser…

  90. Wow. That book sounds a lot like the book “Schooled”, which switches who’s narrating the story. It stars some hippie wierdo named Capricorn Anderson or something. So many pages of insane people who hate or love Cap, and then change their views about him.

  91. I own a blog 2. I just want to say that u r the best cartoonist EVER. I mean that from the depths of my soul. everyday I look forward to reading your strip. It always puts a smile on my face. Thank u for doing what u do.

  92. What is frustrating is that you obviously took no time to ATTEMPT understanding the novel (which I assure you, is quite possible), and instead (i guess?) came up with a “clever” comic strip bashing it. You don’t feel that perhaps you’re being a dismissive asshole by asserting that because YOU don’t get it, that it is an invalid piece of art?

  93. Try reading with Cliff Notes, or read the Wikipedia entry first. There’s no law against it.

    Actually it’s pretty funny. Benjy, who is mentally challenged and has been castrated for improper sexual behavior, is looking out at the meadow that was his part of the inheritance and has been sold and made into a golf course.

    He sees a guy smack a ball with a club and yell, “Caddy,” the name of his beloved sister, the only one loved him, except for Mr. Rogers, who is now long gone.

    And Caddy? She was last seen getting into an SS staff car (tho that’s not in the book — Faulkner said it later).

    It’s such a dreary tome, but you can’t say it’s not clever. Ask Nabokov.

  94. Pingback: The Sound and the Fury « Sequestered Nooks

  95. Just did a post on the same subject and looking for a pic to go with it found your Pearls strip. Used it and linking it! 🙂 Yes, faulkner gives new meaning to the word “suck.”

  96. So, if you hate Faulkner, and “authors who confuse you,” and think twenty-five characters is a lot, maybe you just don’t like complex things. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the idea that Faulkner, generally considered to be one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, is bad because you don’t understand his book is ludicrous.

  97. There are so many stupid people posting on this blog who cannot get into Faulkner out of sheer laziness. Not all literature, film, etc spoon-feeds people. Sure, you can read your Wikipedia and your SparkNotes but you’re just cheating yourself. Have fun with your Michael Bay trash and your Twilight pulp. I’m from the so called “Millennial generation” and it makes me sick to see my brethren let their minds rot. What a waste of human potential.

  98. I salute you. This “novel” was incomprehensible to most of the PhD English prof’s I know. The only difference is that they had a larger polysyllabic vocabulary to write about it, so their BS sounds plausible. Sort of.

  99. I am Brazilian and I love william faulkner, the way he writes, the whole mess in the narrative!

    imagine reading in the original language! that prestige!!!

  100. someone mentioned Nabokov in the comments… I find it odd, because be was very vocal about his dislike for Faulkner. Thought he was a total fraud.

  101. I agree with the people here that are worried about the American mind here. While I agree Faulkner is not everybody’s cup of tea the need to disparage what one does not understand seems rather defensive and reactionary, not unlike the far right in this country. Conversely the need to disparage and put down people that don’t understand or don’t like something is not much better not unlike the far left elitist intellectuals.

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