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Faulkner and FormalismReturns of the Text$
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Annette Trefzer and Ann J. Abadie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617032561

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617032561.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

The Secret Machinery of Textuality, Or, What Is Benjy Compson Really Thinking?

The Secret Machinery of Textuality, Or, What Is Benjy Compson Really Thinking?

Chapter:
(p.92) The Secret Machinery of Textuality, Or, What Is Benjy Compson Really Thinking?
Source:
Faulkner and Formalism
Author(s):

Taylor Hagood

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617032561.003.0006

This chapter examines the intersections of language and power in William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury. It poses the question “What Is Benjy Compson Really Thinking?” and offers an answer by considering the textuality of the Benjy section in the novel. With a careful textual analysis of the opening paragraphs of The Sound and the Fury, the chapter challenges established ways of reading Benjy as Faulkner’s famous creation of an “idiot.” It shows how Faulkner imagines the inner workings of the mind of a mentally disabled person, and suggests that at stake in the Benjy section of the novel are Faulkner’s poetics and politics of representing “otherness.” Specifically, the chapter argues that Faulkner projects onto Benjy a subtle discourse of disability.

Keywords:   language, power, William Faulkner, idiot, poetics, politics, otherness, disability, textuality

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