Bingo: white whale (plus another bingo: ring)
CW: racism, misogyny, castration, cruelty
I think there is a good reason that ‘classic’ literature, the kind we’re taught in school, is made up of a lot of white whales. When a book is held up as an example, as a work that has near-universal things to teach us, it takes away some of the enjoyment, as it adds an element of work. We’re not supposed to simply enjoy it, we’re supposed to take something away from it.
And hoo boy, is The Sound and the Fury a prime example of that bad rep. But also, maybe it earned that reputation?
I have absolutely no idea when I first bought this so it has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, unread. When I got to the white whale square, I chickened out a bit; I could have picked Infinite Jest, or The Border Trilogy, but I want to get as many bingo squares done as I can, so I thought I’d go with something relatively easy. What could be so difficult about a Southern gothic story? But then I started reading it, and remembered that I had started it before and had immediately put it down.
The combination of stream of consciousness, interwoven timelines with no indicators, and no introduction to any character make it really hard to get into this story, but if you stick with it, it is worthwhile – to a degree. I ended up reading a bit about how the novel is structured, and looking up a family tree to get a bit more understanding of who everyone is, and that really increased my enjoyment of the story. I can appreciate what Faulkner did and the way he did it, but it’s still incredibly difficult to get through not just in terms of style and plot, but also the racism and anger in which the story of this family is drenched. It has stuck with me, though, and I’ve bumped it up from 2 to 3 stars.