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The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner
Quentin Compson Timeline and Summary
Quentin insists that he knows more than Caddy. He goes to school. He watches Caddy squat down and get 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 says she will. He knows more. He goes to school. 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. Quentin gets into a fight at school because some kids are mean to the teacher. He comes home with a black eye. Quentin finds Caddy down in the branch (that’s a stream, remember?). She’s lying down with her legs in the water. Quentin asks her over and over if she loves the man. Caddy doesn’t say anything, but she puts Quentin’s hand over her heart, where he feels her blood throbbing. Quentin asks if she remembers the time that she sat in the branch and got her drawers muddy. Remember how we told you that this was an important scene in Benjy’s section? Here’s why: Quentin suddenly pulls out a knife and threatens to push it into Caddy’s throat. He can’t do it, however. He fights Dalton Ames because Caddy is pregnant. Quentin meets Caddy’s fiancé, Herbert. He hates Herbert on sight. Herbert mentions to Quentin that he once thought Quentin was Caddy’s lover, not her brother. He’s all she ever talks about. Herbert keeps trying to push a cigar on Quentin. Disgusted, Quentin refuses. Herbert’s a bit smarmy. He insists that he wants to be Quentin’s brother. After all, he went to Harvard, too. Quentin points out that Herbert was kicked out of Harvard for cheating. That stops conversation for awhile. Herbert threatens Quentin in an attempt to get Quentin to keep quiet. On June 2, 1910, Quentin finds himself "in time again." Translation: he just woke up. He hears his watch clicking away the seconds and remembers when his father first handed him the watch. Quentin hears his roommate, Shreve, getting up. He rolls over, deciding to forget about time. As soon as he decides this, however, thinking about the time becomes like an itch he can’t scratch. It’s all he can think about. All of a sudden, a memory intrudes upon his thinking (or not thinking) about time: A girl runs out, smelling of roses. His mother and father have announced a wedding…. Quentin remembers telling his father that he’s committed incest. Shreve barges in on Quentin, reminding him that he’s late for chapel. Quentin promises to get up soon, and Shreve leaves. Left alone, Quentin remembers the time that Shreve defended him in a fight: Quentin got really angry when someone talked smack about some girls. Watching out the window, Quentin sees Spoade pass by. Spoade’s a campus legend: he’s always late to everything, but he’s always well-respected. The campus chimes sound off the hour. Quentin listens to the sound of the bells fading away into the air. Quentin gets up and walks over to his dresser, where his watch is. He breaks the glass of the watch, then he twists off its hands. Noticing red smears on the glass, Quentin realizes that he’s cut his finger. Quentin packs a suitcase with a change of clothes. He writes two letters: one to his father and one to Shreve. Shreve walks in, interrupting Quentin’s thoughts. He quizzes Quentin about missing chapel, but Quentin mutters an excuse and leaves. He sets off to find Deacon – maybe he’s at the train station? (Deacon is an old black man who seems to do odd jobs for college boys.) As he walks, Quentin thinks about forgetting time again. Passing a jewelry store with lots of clocks in the window, he pauses, then walks in. He asks the man at the counter if any of the clocks are right. The man says no, it’s actually… Quentin shuts him up before the man can finish telling him the time. He just wanted to know if any of the clocks were right. The man looks at him strangely. Maybe this kid has been drinking? Quentin realizes that he can’t hear the clicking of his own watch over all these other clocks. It’s a comforting thought. Quentin walks to a hardware store, where he buys a pair of flatirons (weights). He wraps them up so that they look like a pair of shoes. A streetcar passes, and Quentin gets on. He sits beside a black man and starts thinking about race relations in the North. Quentin gets off the railcar and stares over a bridge at the water below. He watches his shadow in the water, thinking that he wishes he could find a way to drown his shadow. He watches a classmate of his, Gerald Bland, punt on the river. Arriving at the station, Quentin sees Deacon. Quentin promises Deacon a present if he’ll deliver a letter to Shreve tomorrow. Suddenly, looking into Deacon’s slightly absurd face, Quentin sees the wise, sad eyes of Roskus. The moment passes – Deacon agrees to deliver the letter. Quentin walks back to campus, thinking about his childhood. In his room, Shreve greets him. Apparently, Gerald’s mother has sent Quentin an invitation for a party. Shreve’s glad that he’s not invited. Quentin starts thinking about the costs of being a gentleman. Quentin watches three boys fishing for a big ol’ trout. He sees the trout in the water, but no one has ever been able to outsmart it. The boys argue about how to catch the fish. Quentin finds a silent little girl in the town. Quentin walks all through the town, trying to ask the little girl where she lives. At the end of town, Quentin gives the girl a coin and runs away from her. All of a sudden, a group of men run up to them. The little girl finally talks. She points at one of the men, saying, "There’s Julio." Julio charges at Quentin, trying to beat him up. Apparently, he thinks Quentin is trying to run off with his sister. The sheriff is right behind him. He arrests Quentin. Julio accuses Quentin of stealing his sister. Quentin finds this so incredibly farcical that he sits down and laughs. He can’t seem to stop laughing, even after the sheriff begins to think that he’s hysterical. As the group walk back to town, a car with Gerald, his mother, Spoade, Shreve, and two girls drives up. Mrs. Bland (Gerald’s mother) demands to know what’s happening. Of course, when they all hear that Quentin’s been arrested, Shreve is the only one who immediately gets out of the car. The girls, especially, look at Quentin in horror. Shreve joins them as the walk to the jail, where the sheriff books Quentin. Quentin hasn’t said anything about helping the little girl. We’re not really sure why, but we’re guessing that his silence is important. Spoade insists that Quentin’s arrest is a mistake. The sheriff, calculating a bit, charges Quentin six dollars for Julio’s trouble. (In those times, six bucks is a decent amount of cash.) Shreve’s outraged – but Quentin pays the money, and they all leave. In the car, Quentin gets himself into a huge fight. Gerald was telling bawdy tales about the women that he’d had sex with, and Quentin went crazy. He hit Gerald. Unfortunately, Gerald’s been training as a boxer. As Shreve recounts, Quentin got kicked around for awhile. Quentin enters his dorm room. It’s dark. Shreve left him a letter telling him that the Blands are having another get-together. Quentin notices his bloody clothes again. Thinking half-completed thoughts, he begins to clean the blood off with gasoline. Quentin stuffs the bloody clothes into his bag and puts on the clean set. He drowns himself in the river.