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The sound and the fury is the book of our political moment

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The sound and the fury is the book of our political moment

In the Trump years, 1984 It was fashionable, but is there a book at the moment? Like a path to the zeitgeist, 1984 it was a dubious choice. Trump was the opposite of Big Brother, who, for better or for worse, was interested in other people.

Here’s a better look at our News Block: William Faulkner’s 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury. It can be as good a guide as we have for the current political landscape.

Do you remember the four parts of the book? There’s Part I, for the male child Benji, then Part II, for the distraught Quentin at Harvard, then Part III, for the despicable Jason, and finally Part IV, which belongs to Dilsey, the family’s black employee. .

Doesn’t this cover all four parts of the electorate?

In part I, you have the man-boy crying, unable to understand what is happening. Benji, retarded, lives in the present, and only in the present, with no sense of the past, or anything like the past. In the future, I would be surfing the Internet, in front of a television, without the ability to distinguish between one thing and the next: the perfect, stunned audience that during the Trump era lived only in the present from tweet to tweet, taken from the hand. by friendly corporate giants.

Then there’s Quentin from Part II, the ineffective liberal, the Harvard student who’s about to drown in the Charles River. Today he would probably be in college at Harvard, making $ 150,000 a year teaching Faulkner and critical race theory. His is the point of view of pure subjectivity. Quentin is too engrossed in his own subjective world to be aware of the objective world outside of it. At heart, he blames our political troubles for ruining his personal life as much as Quentin blames the South.

Then there’s Jason, in Part III, the failed small businessman, the perfect Trump voter. He is as incapable as Trump to run even a lemonade stand, and Trump is just the same as a sociopath, foul-mouthed, a complete jerk. As those who read Part III will remember, Jason is obsessed with someone – you, me, or Biden – stealing his money. And, indeed, it is, because of his niece, who plucks him, just because he is so much like Tucker Carlson. Like the 75 million who voted for Trump, Jason knows full well that the election was stolen. Hell, he could have been inside the Capitol on January 6 looking for Nancy Pelosi’s office.

But there is also a part of the electorate that is Part IV, where Dilsey enters the picture: Dilsey, who is everything that holds the dysfunctional Compson family together. Dilsey is both the future and the past, that’s what The Sound and the Fury It implies, whether or not Faulkner as a private citizen would agree with Faulkner the novelist. As he writes: “Dilsey – they held on.” Live in the real world. It foreshadows, it is hard to resist thinking, that part of the electorate of black women older than in South Carolina appointed Biden and not Sanders in April 2020 and in Georgia handed over two Senate seats to Democrats last January. In New York City, Eric Adams got his vote.

And because Dilsey and others held on, they took control and put people as disoriented as Benji to the polls. It’s Dilsey that Jason’s guys in state legislatures recognize as the enemy, and who they’re willing to stop.

Faulkner is a puzzle, often denying in interviews what he as an artist put into his work, such as the fluidity of racial identity. He might also have feared that he would be killed if some of his neighbors were able to read such modernist literary works. Long after The Sound and the FuryHowever, in accepting the Nobel Prize, Faulkner made that famous statement: “I think you don’t just hold on; he will prevail. “Perhaps this is a silent cry for the one character who said he was able to endure. Perhaps he believed, or wanted to believe, that Dilsey was going to win.

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