In Quentin’s chapter of The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner introduces Quentin to four unfamiliar children, three young, boisterous fishers and a helpless Italian girl, who symbolize the Compson children to reveal Quentin’s attitude towards his own relationships with his siblings and himself.
The three boys speak amongst each other, which while not happening in reality between the Compson brothers, occurs in context of the novel, as each has his own chapter. The second boy, like Jason, has a fondness for money, claiming he would “take the money instead… [of] the rod” (74). He argues stubbornly with the first boy in the same fashion as Quentin argued with Jason in their youth. The first boy, who symbolizes Quentin, shares a desire to take his own path from the other boys; the boy want to go “to the Eddy for chub” (77) , while Quentin wanted to go to Harvard ...view middle of the document...
Upon entering the bakery, Quentin encounters a “little dirty child” (79) who he calls
“sister,” a blunt allusion to Caddy (79). Quentin’s disgust with the child’s outer appearance mirrors Quentin’s disparaging view of his true sister’s promiscuity. As with Caddy in context of the novel, the little girl “said nothing;” (82) furthermore, just as the Italian girl does not speak to Quentin: Caddy, likewise, does not answer all of Quentin’s pestering questions in regards to her own life. In both situations Quentin remains persistent, trying desperately to reach both girls, yet failing. The damsel’s “serene and secret” (82) nature when Quentin asks her of the whereabouts of her home parallels Caddy’s own comportment when Quentin vehemently interrogates her in regard to her relationship with Dalton Ames: “Caddy do you love him now” (100). The Italian girl offers a “moist and dirty” (80) nickel to pay for a portion of the cost of the bread, reflecting the dirtiness of Caddy’s illegitimate child in Quentin’s mind. Faulkner creates a metaphor for Caddy’s child in writing the shopkeeper’s reprimand, “she’ll hide it under her dress and a boy’d never know it” (80). Although the shopkeeper speaks of the Italian girl robbing a loaf of bread, the line directly alludes to Caddy hiding the truth of her child from her first husband Herbert; nonetheless, Quentin defends the girl, the way he would his sister, and says he will still feed her, because the “cooking smells as good to her as it does to [him]” (80).
Notably, the stream of consciousness prominent in the rest of this chapter halts throughout the set scene with this Italian girl, as a result of the presence of this “sister” almost filling the void left by his sister who he desperately longs for. Once Quentin realizes the fruitlessness of his efforts to connect with this girl that is the same as his efforts to assist Caddy in her own life, Quentin’s narration returns to its previously abstract and quick narrative pace, marking his frustration with his inability to control his situation calmly.