William Faulkner 's The Sound And The Fury Essay

1997 Words Nov 17th, 2016 8 Pages
The Fence to Adulthood: Sexuality in The Sound and The Fury
Throughout William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury, the patriarchal construct of virginity controls women through the creation of fences -- both physical and metaphorical barriers. Traditionally, when a Southern girl reaches adulthood, she is expected to settle down and raise her children, obeying her husband as the family patriarch. These Southern power structures are like fences in that they have traditionally restricted women’s sexual activity; when women challenge such conservative barriers, as do some of the Compson females, they can embrace their own sexuality and find liberation despite being shunned by society. Thus, Caddy’s loss of virginity prior to marriage, overturning the Southern code of honor, destroys her family. Her wayward behavior enables Quentin’s suicide and virgin status, Benjy’s molestation of a young girl, and Miss Quentin’s promiscuous escapades. Moreover, females are more than just attractive possessions mandated by the Southern code; rather, they are figures who hold the power to control the minds of men and also lead them them through actual and symbolic barriers that shape one’s path in life.
As the maturing Caddy becomes aware of her sexuality, she begins to assert her own beliefs, allowing her to transgress patriarchal principles and gain her freedom from the constructs of Southern society. From an early age, she defies convention. As the seven year old Caddy plays in the branch…

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