Faulkner Home Page


[In February, 1957, as writer in residence at U.Va, WF was interviewed by the students in a graduate course in American fiction.]
Q. Mr. Faulkner, in The Sound and the Fury the first three sections of that book are narrated by one of the four Compson children, and in view of the fact that Caddy figures so prominently, is there any particular reason why you didn't have a section with--giving her views or impressions of what went on?
       A. That's a good question. That--the explanation of that whole book is in that. It began with the picture of the little girl's muddy drawers, climbing that tree to look in the parlor window with her brothers that didn't have the courage to climb the tree waiting to see what she saw. And I tried first to tell it with one brother, and that wasn't enough. That was Section One. I tried with another brother, and that wasn't enough. That was Section Two. I tried the third brother, because Caddy was still to me too beautiful and too moving to reduce her to telling what was going on, that it would be more passionate to see her through somebody else's eyes, I thought. And that failed and I tried myself--the fourth section--to tell what happened, and I still failed.

HEAR FAULKNER -- (aiff format, 2.4MB) or (ra format, 630K)

. . . Q. Mr. Faulkner, I've been very much interested in what it seems to me you did--maybe you didn't--in The Sound and the Fury, in the character of Caddy. To me she is a very sympathetic character, perhaps the most sympathetic woman in the book, and yet we get pictures of her only through someone else's comments and most of these comments are quite [?] and wouldn't lead you to admire her on the surface, and yet I do. Did you mean for us to have this feeling for Caddy, and if so, how did you go about reducing her to the negative picture we get of her?
       A. To me she was the beautiful one, she was my heart's darling. That's what I wrote the book about and I used the tools which seemed to me the proper tools to try to tell, try to draw the picture of Caddy.

HEAR FAULKNER -- (aiff format, 846K) or (ra format, 201K)

[SOURCE: Faulkner in the University, ed. Frederick L. Gwynn & Joseph Blotner (Charlottesville: Univ. of Virginia Press, 1959), pp. 2 & 6]

[THANKS: Adam Soroka, Digital Music & Media Center, Clemons Library]

  • William Faulkner on the Web
    a rich site at the Univ. of Mississippi, lots of different kinds of material

  • Back to Syllabus