The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner
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The Sound and the Fury Chapter 1 Summary

  • OK, we’re going to start by cheating a bit: we know that we’re supposed to give you a minute-by-minute update about the goings-on of the Compsons. We’re not going to do that just yet, though.
  • Here’s why: this section is narrated by Benjy. He’s one of the Compson children (there are four).
  • As Faulkner himself described it, Benjy’s section is a "tale told by an idiot." In other words, Benjy is mentally handicapped (they weren’t so nice to folks with disabilities in Faulkner’s time, huh?).
  • Although Faulkner tells us that Benjy’s section takes place in 1928, he’s fudging the truth a little bit. Actually, Benjy’s mind ranges over several different memories and time periods over the course of his section.
  • And, of course, there are no chapter markings to distinguish between time periods or memories.
  • Buckle up, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
  • Luckily, your friendly team of Shmoopsters is here to help. We’re going to delineate all the different episodes in Benjy’s section.
  • When? Well, we’re glad you asked.
  • Here goes:
  1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.
  2. Years earlier. The day the pig died. Also Christmas Day.
  3. Two days before #2.
  4. Sometime between #1 and #2. The day T.P. takes Benjy and Mrs. Compson for a ride.
  5. The day Benjy gives a letter to Mrs. Patterson.
  6. The day Damuddy dies.
  7. The day T.P. and Benjy drink "sassprilluh." Also Caddy’s wedding.
  8. The day Benjy’s name changes (sometime after #2).
  9. The day Roskus dies.
  10. The day Caddy wears perfume.
  11. The day Caddy makes out with Charlie.
  12. A day after Caddy has left.
  13. The day Benjy chases the girls.
So, let’s start again. We’ll tell you which episode we think Benjy’s thinking about.We know, we know, that’s a lot of thinking. But hey, it’s a modernist novel, which means there’s a lot of thinking going on.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Benjy sees hitting.
  • He watches as the people take turns hitting.
  • Benjy walks along the fence as the people hit.
  • He hears the hitters calling, "Here caddie."
  • Luster yells at Benjy. Apparently Benjy’s started bellowing.
  • Benjy never seems to notice when he’s begun bellowing – it’s only when other folks tell him to stop that he figures it out.
  • Determined to find a quarter that he’s lost, Luster warns Benjy to shut up.
  • Benjy seems drawn back to the fence, where he sees people still hitting.
  • The flag flutters over the spot where folks are hitting. It’s red.
  • Luster yells at Benjy to stop bellowing again.
  • (Confused by now? Don’t worry. We’re supposed to be.)
  • Here’s a few clues: caddies and hitting and red flags? That’s a golf course.
  • Notice, too, that every time someone calls for a caddie Benjy starts to bellow.
  • Coincidence? We think not. Not to worry, Shmoopsters, it’ll be clear eventually.
  • Then again, maybe it’s not supposed to be clear.
  • After all, Faulkner’s trying to place us smack-dab in the middle of Benjy’s mind.
  • OK, back to our story:
  • Luster threatens Benjy: if he doesn’t stop bellowing, Luster will eat his birthday cake.
  • And his candles.
  • All thirty-three of them.
  • OK, here’s what we learn from this: Benjy’s thirty-three. And Luster likes to eat wax.
  • Well, maybe he’s just mean. Either way, it works to shut Benjy up.
  • The golfers leave.
  • Benjy notices that his shadow is taller than Luster’s.
  • Faulkner’s a master of describing things through Benjy’s perspective. We like to think of Benjy’s section as a form of detective work for the reader.
  • In other words, Benjy is taller than Luster.
  • Longer shadow = taller person. Get it? Pretty clever, huh?
  • Benjy snags his shirt on a nail as they leave.
  • Snagging his shirt reminds him of another time when he snagged his shirt.
  • [Insert time travel music here…]

2. Years earlier. The day the pig died. Also Christmas Day.

  • Caddy un-snags Benjy’s shirt.
  • They crawl through the fence together, Caddy guiding Benjy all the way.
  • Noticing the crying pigs, Caddy explains to Benjy that they’re crying because one of their
  • piggy friends died that morning.
  • Who knew pigs were so sentimental?
  • Caddy tells Benjy to keep his hands in his pockets. It’s cold out.
  • It’s also Christmas. As Caddy says, no one wants to be hand-less on Christmas day.

3. Two days before #2.

  • It’s another winter day.
  • Benjy wants to go outside.
  • Versh, Mother, and Uncle Maury discuss whether or not he should go out.
  • Mother, always concerned with herself, declares that Benjy is a "judgment" on her.
  • It’s lovely thing to say about one of your kids, isn’t it?
  • Luckily, Uncle Maury can console her. He makes her a hot toddy.
  • That’s a hot cup o’ booze. It cheers her right up.
  • Uncle Maury convinces Mother to let Benjy go outside.
  • She doesn’t take too much convincing.
  • After all, with a hot toddy in her hand, she’s not complaining about anything.
  • Uncle Maury tells Versh (or "boy," as he calls him) to keep Benjy outside for half an hour.
  • We interrupt this fascinating story for a brief historical note:
  • Versh, Dilsey, Roskus, T.P., Frony and Luster are all members of a black family who work for the Compsons.
  • They’ve got a complicated relationship with the Compsons, as Uncle Maury’s belittling tone implies.
  • You see, "boy" was a term used in the South to address black men. It’s a not-so-nice way of asserting social privilege.
  • Things aren’t quite that clear-cut, though. As we’ve seen, Luster and Versh take care of Benjy more than his own mother. And Dilsey becomes a mother to all the Compson children.
  • Uncle Maury, however, is an alcoholic loser who hangs out at his sister’s house because he has nowhere else to go.
  • Is Faulkner making some sort of ironic commentary about the social hierarchies of the Compson household? We’re not really sure. But it’s worth thinking about.
  • Wondering how the two families are tied together? Well, read on, friends….
  • OK, back to our main events:
  • Versh takes Benjy outside.
  • Benjy rushes to the gate.
  • Apparently Benjy’s hands are on the gate. Versh warns him that he’ll freeze.
  • Benjy can’t feel the gate, but he smells the cold on his hands.
  • What? Smelling cold? That doesn’t make sense at all.
  • Or wait, maybe it does….
  • You see, Benjy has peculiarly delicate senses. He describes things the way he feels them. Maybe winter does smell different than summer…and for Benjy, that’s how cold "smells."
  • The fancy literary term for this is "synaesthesia." Check out our analysis of it in Benjy’s "Character Analysis." It’ll be great. We promise.
  • Caddy comes running up to the gate.
  • She stoops down to hug Benjy.
  • Benjy notices that Caddy smells like leaves. Pay attention to this. It’s a Big Important Theme.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster asks Benjy what he’s moaning about.
  • Your friendly Shmoop detective team concludes that this probably means that Benjy’s been bellowing again.
  • Luster hands Benjy a jimson weed. That’s a flower.
  • Holding the flower makes Benjy happy. He stops bellowing.

3. Two days before #2.

  • Caddy asks Benjy what he’s upset about. She’s convinced that he’s trying to tell her something.
  • Wondering if Benjy thought that it would be Christmas when she came home, Caddy takes him inside.
  • As they go in, Caddy explains that Christmas is not for two days.
  • They run together through the "bright cold" into the house.
  • Mother yells at Versh for letting Benjy come inside without taking off his coat.
  • Caddy begs her mother to let Benjy go back outside. Uncle Maury supports her.
  • Suspicious about Uncle Maury’s sudden good nature? We are, too….
  • Mother doesn’t suspect anything, though.
  • She calls Benjy her "poor baby" and lets them go.
  • Indignant, Caddy informs Benjy that he’s not a poor baby. He’s got "his Caddy" to take care of him.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster tells Benjy to stop moaning.
  • Noticing a trend? If only Luster could see everything that Benjy’s been thinking. He’d probably moan, too.
  • Benjy notices that they’re passing the carriage house. The carriage has a new wheel on it.
  • Remember this. It’s important later. Much, much later.

4. Sometime between #1 and #2. The day T.P. takes Benjy and Mrs. Compson for a ride.

  • Dilsey shoves Benjy into the carriage.
  • T.P. is going to drive Benjy and Mother to the cemetery.
  • Mother shows up, angry that Roskus isn’t going to drive them (instead of T.P.)
  • Dilsey patiently informs Mother that Roskus is too old and tired to drive.
  • Mother mutters a lot about being long-suffering.
  • Blah, blah, blah….
  • T.P. starts to drive the old horse, Queenie, away from the house.
  • Benjy notices smooth, flowing shapes.
  • That’s Benjy-think for describing the fact that the carriage is moving.
  • The carriage pulls up in front of Jason, and Mother declares that they’re going to the cemetery.
  • Jason refuses to join them – as he sarcastically points out, Father and Quentin can’t hurt Mother anymore. They’re dead.
  • Mother says Jason is a judgment on her.
  • God must be pretty busy judging Mother all the time. At least, that’s what she seems to think.
  • Jason informs Mother that Uncle Maury drew fifty dollars out of Mother’s account.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster calls Benjy a crybaby.
  • They walk through a falling-down barn.

2. Years earlier. The day the pig died. Also Christmas Day.

  • Caddy tells Benjy to keep his hands in his pockets. It’s cold.
  • Why are they out in the cold? We’re glad you asked.
  • As it turns out, Uncle Maury wants Caddy and Benjy to deliver a letter to one of his lovers, Mrs. Patterson. It’s a Christmas present.
  • Wait…if there’s a Mrs. Patterson, then there’s probably a Mr. Patterson, right?
  • You guessed it.
  • Hmm….
  • Now, we here at Shmoop don’t mean to judge anyone, but it’s a bit suspicious that Uncle Maury sends little kids to do his dirty work.

4. Sometime between #1 and #2. The day T.P. takes Benjy and Mrs. Compson for a ride.

  • It’s summer. Benjy delivers a letter to Mrs. Patterson himself.
  • Mr. Patterson sees him.
  • Mrs. Patterson yells a lot about Maury sending an "idiot" to deliver a secret message all by himself.
  • Mr. Patterson starts running up to the fence as Mrs. Patterson tries to grab the letter from Benjy.
  • Mr. P gets the letter.
  • Benjy takes one look into Mrs. P’s eyes and starts to run.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster takes Benjy down to the branch.
  • "Branch" is a down-South term for a creek. Or a stream.
  • Whatever you call it, it’s got some water in it. And Luster’s convinced that it’s got his quarter in it, too.
  • Down at the branch, Luster runs into some other kids playing and some people washing clothes.
  • None of them have seen the quarter – and if they had, they wouldn’t give it to him.
  • Luster declares that he needs to quarter to go to the show tonight.
  • The other people down at the branch think that the show is a fancy way for white people to steal black people’s money.
  • Luster asks what they have against white folks.
  • They declare that they don’t have anything against white folks; they just want to stay in their own separate worlds. The show is part of the white world – so they want no part of it.
  • Benjy sits down in the water….
  • [Insert time travel music again]

5. The day Benjy gives a letter to Mrs. Patterson.

  • Benjy’s in the water with Caddy when Roskus comes to get them for dinner.
  • Caddy squats down and gets her dress wet. Versh says that her mom will whip her for getting wet.
  • Caddy argues that she won’t get whipped.
  • After all, she’s seven. She should know.
  • Quentin, her brother, says she will. He knows more. He goes to school.
  • Ah, the wisdom of kids….
  • Versh, Quentin, and Caddy get into a fight.
  • Declaring that she’s going to run away, Caddy says that she doesn’t care if she gets whipped or not.
  • Benjy notices that Caddy’s backside is all muddy and starts to cry.
  • Caddy comforts him. She smells like trees.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Benjy starts moaning again, and the people in the branch tell Luster to take him away.
  • Angrily, Luster does.
  • As they leave, he mutters that Benjy thinks they still own the pasture – but they don’t.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Roskus calls all the kids to supper.
  • Caddy’s convinced that Jason (their other brother) will tell on them for getting wet.
  • Jason follows them all into the house, his hands in his pockets. Jason’s hands in his pockets are a symbol. For what, you ask? Well, keep reading….

7. The day T.P. and Benjy drink "sassprilluh." Also Caddy’s wedding.

  • The cows escape.
  • T.P. hollers and hollers. He’s enjoying the hollering.
  • Well, who wouldn’t?
  • Exactly.
  • T.P. tries to chase after the cows, but he keeps falling down.
  • Benjy tries to describe all of this, but his perspective is a bit fuzzy.
  • Could he be drunk? T.P. hollers some more.
  • Yup, they’re drunk, all right.
  • Well, that’s what Quentin thinks. He rushes into the barn, yelling at T.P.
  • T.P. shouts that he’s going back to the wedding with Benjy.
  • Wedding? What wedding?
  • Well, we’ll find out soon enough.
  • In the meantime, Quentin starts to smack T.P. around.
  • Versh stomps into the barn, demanding to know what’s happened.
  • T.P. laughingly declares that he found sassprilluh in the cellar.
  • Quentin smacks him around some more.
  • Apparently, Quentin likes fighting.
  • Quentin lifts Benjy up and feeds him some hot liquid, which helps to stop his head from spinning.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Back in the past, the kids are heading in to dinner.
  • Caddy tells Maury to hurry up.
  • Maury? What?
  • Well, apparently Benjy thinks that he’s Maury. He follows Caddy into the house.
  • Confused? Well, that’s what Faulkner was intending. At least, we’ve got a hunch that he’s deliberately messing with our minds.
  • Seeing lights in the house, Caddy decides that there must be company over.
  • As the kids eat dinner, Quentin observes that their mother has been crying.
  • Jason begins to cry. Apparently, he’s a crybaby.
  • At least, that’s what Caddy says.
  • Jason threatens to tell on her.
  • Does this sound at all like your childhood? We sort of thought so.
  • The kids argue about who has to "mind" who.
  • Versh takes the kids down to his house.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • OK, flash forward.
  • T.P. dresses Benjy and they go down to Dilsey’s house.
  • Roskus asks for help milking the cows – he’s too old to do it himself.
  • T.P. tells Roskus to go to the doctor, but Roskus refuses. There’s no luck in this house, he declares. The doctor won’t be of any use.

7. The day T.P. and Benjy drink "sassprilluh." Also Caddy’s wedding.

  • OK, flash back.
  • (If your head is spinning about now, you’re in good company.)
  • Benjy remembers Roskus saying that the house has no luck.
  • In fact, Roskus alludes vaguely to the reason for the luckless house.
  • There’ve been two. And there may be one more.
  • Two what? One what?
  • Well, we don’t know just yet. Once we figure it out, though, you’ll be the first to hear about it!
  • Dilsey and Roskus talk about death.
  • Dilsey believes in God’s grace, so she’s not worried.
  • Roskus still asserts that the house is unlucky. After all, his name has been changed. Isn’t that reason enough to believe that there’s a bad omen in the place?
  • Whose name? Well, here’s a Shmoop inside secret. Remember when Benjy was called Maury?
  • Here’s the secret: Benjy’s name used to be Maury. Just like his uncle.
  • But then, of course, the family figured out that Benjy was mentally handicapped. All of a sudden, his name became Benjy. More on this later…

8. The day Benjy’s name changes (sometime after #2).

  • A few years later:
  • T.P. and Benjy go out to play with Quentin.
  • Roskus and Dilsey have another conversation: as they say, there’s no luck on a place where one of their children’s own names can't be spoken.
  • Frony says that he (we think that she means Benjy) doesn’t understand names.
  • Dilsey snaps at her. If anyone says her name, Benjy will wake up from his sleep and go crazy.
  • Roskus agrees – after all, in his opinion, Benjy’s smarter than anyone gives him credit for.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster decides to take his ball and hide it. Benjy takes it from him.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Caddy tells Frony and T.P. that everyone has to mind her tonight.
  • Frony asks if they’ve started the funeral yet.
  • (Have you noticed yet that, even as children, the black members of the Compson
  • household have more information than the white ones?)
  • Jason wants to know what a funeral is. (See? We told you.)Versh tries to hush Frony up, but she declares that a funeral is when people moan.
  • Hmm...Benjy moans all the time, doesn’t he? Interesting….

9. The day Roskus dies.

  • Dilsey’s moaning inside her house. Blue (the dog) cries, and Benjy cries with him.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Caddy says that white folks don’t moan at funerals.
  • Versh urges Frony to shut up – Dilsey told them not to say anything about the funeral.

9. The day Roskus dies.

  • Dilsey moans again.
  • Benjy says that when "it" got to "the place" he starts to moan, as well.
  • We’ve got a strong hunch that "it" is Roskus’ coffin. Here’s why:
  • Frony tells Luster to take Benjy away. He refuses – he’s worried that he’ll meet the ghost of his father down in the barn.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • OK, so by now you’ve probably figured out that we’re toggling between funerals. Pleasant, huh?
  • Frony says that even white people die. In fact, their grandmother is "as dead as any
  • nigger can get," she reckons.
  • Whoops. Looks like she just told.
  • Caddy says that Nancy, their horse, died in a ditch where Roskus shot her.
  • Benjy thinks about Nancy’s bones, white and shining in the moonlight.
  • A dead horse = a dead grandmother? Well, kids think the darndest things.

9. The day Roskus dies.

  • T.P. takes Benjy out of the house. Benjy’s father is sick.
  • Apparently, Dan (the dog) is bellowing. Benjy bellows with him.
  • T.P. takes Benjy down to the pasture so that he can shout all he wants without disturbing anyone.
  • Luster asks Benjy if he remembers the quarter. After all, it was right in his pocket earlier.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Caddy says that buzzards won’t pick at Damuddy. (That’s "grandma," in case you were wondering.)
  • Jason starts crying. Of course. After all, it’s what he does best.

8. The day Benjy’s name changes (sometime after #2).

  • T.P. leads Benjy down to the cellar, where there are hundreds (or thousands) of bottles of sassprilluh.
  • Benjy’s not sure what that means, but T.P.’s pretty excited.
  • In case we haven’t mentioned it, this is the prequel to the drunk Benjy and T.P. segment we told you about earlier.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • The kids see a snake as they leave the main house to go to Dilsey’s house.

9. The day Roskus dies.

  • Benjy and T.P. commence drinking. Sassprilluh, that is.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Caddy wants to see what’s going on in the main house.
  • She gets Versh to boost her up into the tree.
  • Benjy watches as Caddy’s muddy drawers disappear up into the tree.
  • Frony whispers up to Caddy to ask what she sees.

10. The day Caddy wears perfume.

  • Benjy sees Caddy with flowers in her hair and a veil "like shining wind." He thinks,
  • "Caddy Caddy."
  • Apparently, he’s bellowing. T.P. frantically tries to calm him down, but all Benjy can think about is Caddy. He starts clawing at the windows to get in to the house.
  • T.P. tries to quiet Benjy down by promising him more sassprilluh. Unfortunately, Benjy cares a little bit more about Caddy than he does about sassprilluh.
  • Benjy feels his throat keep making sounds, even after he tries to stop.
  • Caddy comes down in her veil. She hugs Benjy, but in her veil she doesn’t smell like trees anymore.
  • Benjy begins to cry.

11. The day Caddy makes out with Charlie.

  • Thinking about crying over Caddy reminds Benjy of another time when Caddy tried to
  • hug him when she didn’t smell like trees.
  • Benjy, of course, bellowed.
  • Caddy can’t quite figure out what the problem is. Jason sneers at her dress, saying that Benjy’s probably bellowing because she’s become so prissy.
  • Caddy tries to get Benjy to tell her what the problem is.
  • Mother calls out to them, assuming that Caddy’s done something to anger Benjy.
  • Caddy gets a sparkly box and sets it in front of Benjy. He quiets down, mesmerized.
  • Caddy starts to leave, and Benjy starts howling again.
  • Hmm…maybe he wants Caddy?
  • Benjy hears water in the bathroom. When Caddy comes out, she smells like trees.
  • He’s happy again.
  • Caddy starts to figure it out; she takes her bottle of perfume and shows it to Benjy.
  • He starts bellowing.
  • Caddy understands. She blames herself for not listening to Benjy. Together, the two go downstairs and give the perfume to Dilsey.
  • Benjy thinks that Caddy smells like trees.
  • What’s with the trees? Well, we have some thoughts, but they’ll take awhile to explain, so we’ll leave them for later. Check out our opinions in "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory."
  • Father says that Uncle Maury has gotten sick.
  • Apparently, he’s actually hiding out.
  • You see, Mr. Patterson is out to get him.
  • Father sort of hates Maury. He thinks he’s worthless.
  • Mother gets offended. After all, her people are just as good as the Compsons!

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • All the kids look up into the trees to see what Caddy’s doing.
  • Dilsey finds them outside. She calls Caddy down and wants to know who’s responsible for their misbehavior.
  • Luckily, they all seem to agree that Caddy was in charge. Perhaps being the leader isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster suddenly remembers where he might have dropped the quarter.
  • Finally.
  • He leaves Benjy alone, warning him to stay away from Miss Quentin.
  • Miss Quentin? Well, yes. As a matter of fact, Quentin Jr. is a girl.
  • Currently, Miss Quentin is sitting on the swing with her guy.

11. The day Caddy makes out with Charlie.

  • In case you haven’t noticed, Benjy’s a master of associative thinking.
  • Thinking about Miss Quentin on the swing reminds him of the time Caddy was sitting on a swing with her boyfriend, Charlie.
  • Benjy finds them and gets angry. Of course, he can’t say anything, but he bellows.
  • Charlie gets mad, too, wondering why Benjy’s allowed to roam about without anyone to look after him.
  • Caddy tries to push Charlie away. He pulls her to him.
  • Benjy notices how fast Caddy breathes.
  • Caddy breaks away from Charlie and runs with Benjy into the house.
  • She washes her mouth out with soap.
  • Benjy thinks that Caddy smells like trees.
  • Noticing a pattern here?

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Remembering Caddy, Benjy rushes to the swing. Quentin, her mouth bright red, turns on him furiously.
  • …that means, in case you were wondering, that this is the girl Quentin, not her uncle (Quentin). Got that?
  • She wants to know why Luster let Benjy loose, and she threatens to whip Luster.
  • Hmm. We can tell already that she’s a nice lady.
  • The guy Quentin is with sticks a match in his mouth. We’re not sure why, so let’s just ignore it for the time being.
  • Quentin gets angry, swears at the man, and runs into the house.
  • The man sticks around to ask Luster about Benjy.
  • Luster informs him that Benjy is deaf and dumb. (Of course, we know that’s not true.)
  • As it turns out, the man is from the circus that Luster’s been trying so hard to go to.
  • Luster tries sell him a golf ball for a quarter. The guy’s not taken in. Apparently, Luster isn’t much of a businessman.

12. A day after Caddy has left.

  • Benjy runs along the gate, trying to get Caddy to come back.
  • Irritated, his mother wants to know what the matter is.
  • T.P. explains that Benjy thinks Caddy will come back if he watches the gate.

13. The day Benjy chases the girls.

  • Benjy runs along the gate.
  • Apparently, someone left the gate’s latch unlocked.
  • Some girls walk by: a few are scared of Benjy, but one informs them that he’s always locked up.
  • To prove her point, she steps towards Benjy.
  • Benjy opens the gate and catches the girl. He remembers her screaming.
  • He’s trying to say something, but it can’t come out.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Back at the gate again.
  • Benjy watches the hitters. That’s golf, remember?
  • Luster argues with a kid about the ball he found. He loses.
  • Angry, he turns to Benjy and whispers, "Caddy."
  • Benjy doesn’t tell us this, but we here at Shmoop think he begins to holler.
  • Dilsey thinks so, too. She comes running down to the yard, yelling at Luster for making Benjy so upset.
  • She thinks that Luster’s been messing with "his grave."
  • Dilsey gives Luster and Benjy the birthday cake she bought for Benjy. He’s thirty-three today, remember?
  • Luster blows out the candles when Dilsey’s not looking, and Benjy begins to cry. Luster quickly re-lights the candles before Dilsey can see.

8. The day Benjy’s name changes (sometime after #2).

  • Caddy informs Dilsey that Maury’s name is now Benjy
  • Dilsey’s not impressed. After all, a name doesn’t change who you are.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Dilsey catches Luster turning the fire off. She gets mad at him – Benjy seems to be happy when there’s fire.
  • Mother, of course, gets upset at the racket. Mother doesn’t seem to do anything but get upset at noise.
  • Benjy burns his hand trying to reach for the fire.

8. The day Benjy’s name changes (sometime after #2).

  • Caddy tries to tell Benjy that his name’s changed.

13. The day Benjy chases the girls.

  • Caddy’s carrying Benjy into Mother’s room.
  • You can guess what happens next.
  • OK, OK, we’ll tell you.
  • Mother gets upset.
  • Big surprise, huh?
  • Seeing Mother upset makes Benjy upset. Caddy can only calm him down by giving him his cushion to look at.
  • Caddy sees that Jason’s cut up all of Benjy’s dolls. Furious, she starts to hit him.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Jason comes in. Dilsey calls Quentin in to supper.

13. The day Benjy chases the girls.

  • Caddy sees Quentin coming in and tells him about Jason cutting up the dolls.
  • She stops when she notices that Quentin’s been in a fight. Apparently, it was about his teacher.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Miss Quentin comes in to supper. She’s furious at Luster for letting Benjy come down to where she was hanging out with the circus man.
  • Apparently, Jason’s also furious. He tells Quentin to stay away from circus men.
  • Everybody gets angry at everybody else. Fun, fun times.
  • Quentin wants to send Benjy to Jackson (the insane asylum). See, we told you she was nice.
  • She’s also mad because Benjy carries a slipper around with him everywhere he goes.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Caddy feeds Benjy. He watches as the bowl fills, then empties; fills, then empties.
  • Believe it or not, this scene is a pretty amazing rendition of Benjy’s narrative perspective. We recommend that you check it out.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Quentin threatens to run away. Jason seems pretty happy about that. In fact, he encourages her to do just that.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • OK, we’re switching between two scenes a lot now. Back to the old days: Caddy notices that Mother’s sick again. Also, it’s starting to rain.
  • Rain is usually a sign that things aren’t, well, sunny.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Quentin (the daughter) swears at Jason, throws a glass at him, and runs upstairs.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Caddy gives Benjy the cushion to look at.
  • They sleep in a strange room that night because their mother is sick.

1. 1928. Benjy and Luster look for golf balls and quarters.

  • Luster puts Benjy to bed.

6. The day Damuddy dies.

  • Benjy remembers going to bed with Caddy laying next to him.
  • Dilsey comes in to clean off Caddy’s muddy drawers.
  • Benjy feels the dark coming around him in smooth, flowing shapes. That means that he’s falling asleep.

Next Page: Chapter 2
Previous Page: Intro

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