| Quote #1
Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools. (2.1)
The Civil War disintegrates in Mr. Compson’s analysis, becoming nothing more than a reminder of individual defeat. Interestingly, this analysis carries over into his advice for Quentin regarding Caddy.
| Quote #2
It was Grandfather's and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it's rather excruciating-ly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father's. (2.1)
Even time for Quentin is something that he inherits from his family: a second- (or third-) hand watch measures time for him. In some ways, the watch becomes for Quentin a symbol of repetition as much as for the continual movement of time.
| Quote #3
Father said it used to be a gentleman was known by his books; nowadays he is known by the ones he has not returned (2.18)
Mr. Compson’s ironic commentary on the decay of the Southern gentleman is also a marker of the shift from property-owning gentry to the middle class. Gentlemen buy their own books; middle-class men check them out from the library.