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The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury

by William Faulkner

Analysis: Three Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Benjy, the mentally handicapped son of the Compson family, passes his time remembering his childhood and the moments he spent with his sister Caddy, who’s now gone.

Act II

Eighteen years earlier, Quentin Compson, a young student at Harvard, struggles to make sense of his sister’s recent marriage. Unable to triangulate the supposed innocence and virginity of his sister with her obvious sexuality, he decides to kill himself.


Angry and bitter at his fate, Jason Compson lashes out at his niece. He steals all her money, but manages to lose most of his own money in the stock market crash of 1928.

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