The Sound and the Fury

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
Shadows Symbol Icon
Throughout the book Faulkner brings up images of shadows – particularly in Benjy’s and Quentin’s chapters – as when Quentin looks down from the bridge and watches the shadows in the water, imagining drowning himself. The emphasis on the shadows of objects as well as the objects themselves becomes a symbol of the darker side or past side of every situation and character, such as the declining Compson family, which is only a shadow of its former self. Shadows also mark the passage of time, as they shift with the sun throughout the day, so they also point to the theme of time and memory.

Shadows Quotes in The Sound and the Fury

The The Sound and the Fury quotes below all refer to the symbol of Shadows. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Sound and the Fury published in 1990.
June Second, 1910 Quotes

When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight oclock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire… I give it to you not that may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson
Related Symbols: Quentin’s Watch, Shadows
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

Here we switch abruptly from Benjy’s section to Quentin’s, hoping for more clarity but not finding it. The style changes noticeably, from Benjy’s scattered narration to Quentin’s much more analytical but still very scattered section. Like Benjy, Quentin finds himself thrown from the present back into the past, with all its painful memories.

At the very start of Quentin’s section, its two major themes are present: shadows and time. Quentin is disturbed by the shadows following him and everyone else around all the time. He is also tortured by time, embodied in the watch given to him by his father, along with one of Mr. Compson’s characteristically vast philosophical pronouncements: “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…”

Hearing the watch Quentin is “in time again” and cannot escape it. Though Mr. Compson gives Quentin the watch in the hope that he might “forget it now and then for a moment,” it clearly has the opposite effect.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Sound and the Fury quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Sound and the Fury LitChart as a printable PDF.
The sound and the fury.pdf.medium

Shadows Symbol Timeline in The Sound and the Fury

The timeline below shows where the symbol Shadows appears in The Sound and the Fury. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
June Second, 1910
Time, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
Decline and Corruption Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
...by Quentin, Benjy’s brother. Quentin wakes up in his dorm room at Harvard, sees a shadow on the wall, and hears his watch ticking. The watch belonged to his grandfather, and... (full context)
Time, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
Decline and Corruption Theme Icon
Sin and Sexuality Theme Icon
Race and Class Theme Icon
...an envelope, and then seals it and addresses it to his father. He watches a shadow move across the door and thinks about the night of Caddy’s wedding, when Benjy and... (full context)
Time, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
Decline and Corruption Theme Icon
...at the water. He thinks about the fifty-foot drop from the bridge, and watches his shadow in the water. He thinks of an old saying that “a drowned man’s shadow was... (full context)
Time, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
Quentin walks onto a bridge again, looking into the water and thinking about drowning, shadows, and the Christian resurrection of the dead. Then three boys appear with fishing rods, and... (full context)
Time, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
Decline and Corruption Theme Icon
Sin and Sexuality Theme Icon
...she scolds him as they drive. Quentin thinks again about virginity, and he watches the shadow of the car move along a wall. Mrs. Bland boasts about her family and Gerald,... (full context)