Whether you've never heard of William Faulkner or the mere thought of Faulkner fills you with dread as you flashback to high school English, Oprah's Book Club is here to help you navigate the twists and turns of The Sound and the Fury.
Shift Happens: Things to Look For
  • Look for changes in typeface, when the text goes from "normal" to "italic." Usually it indicates a shift in time or a character's inner thoughts.
  • Like TV shows and movies, Faulkner's characters have flashbacks and speak in "voice-overs" as they share their inner thoughts as things happen around them.

Choose Your Own Pulp Fiction Adventure
Like Quentin Tarantino's movie, Pulp Fiction, the sections in The Sound and the Fury—told from different perspectives and at different points in time—build on each other like scenes from the movie. So if you're wrestling with one section, "fast forward" to another! (Just make sure you make it all the way through the novel at least once.)

If You Get Confused
  • Faulkner's punctuation and stream-of-consciousness style can be confusing. But remember, at heart, Faulkner thought of himself as a failed poet. Instead of focusing on how the words are written on the page, focus on how they make you feel.
  • Read a passage out loud.
  • Check to see what date is at the beginning of the section you're reading. The novel spans two decades and multiple characters share the same names.

More in Faulkner 101
Get the most out of your reading with more advice on how to approach the works of William Faulkner in general from a Faulkner fan from way back.


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