April 7, 1928: Pages 3-75
1. This section moves between the past and present with little more than a change in typeface to signify time shifts. How did you learn to find your way through Benjy's chapter? What is Faulkner saying about time and memory by having Benjy introduce the Compson family story?
2. Although Benjy is mentally challenged, he is able to recall many conversations and significant moments from his family's past. Discuss some of the events Benjy is remembering. Do you think he is a reliable narrator?
3. Loss and longing permeate Benjy's chapter. Who and what have Benjy lost? Which losses resonate most with him?
4. What objects does Caddy use to soothe Benjy?
5. On the day Damuddy dies, Caddy is the only Compson child willing to climb the tree to look in the room. What does this say about Caddy's personality?
6. When Benjy was 5 years old his name was changed from Maury. For what reason was his name changed? What do you think this says about the Compson family values?
7. Benjy senses Caddy's sexual maturation. How does he try to forestall the changes? What is Caddy's response?
8. Discuss the ways in which the Compsons and the Gibsons care for Benjy. Do you think they function as a typical extended family, or is there something special about Benjy that ties them together?
We didn't want to spoil what lies ahead, so choose the questions for the section you're ready to discuss.