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美国南方的没落:《喧哗与骚动》中的人物分析

一、    综述国内外对本课题的研究动态,说明选题的依据和意义:
威廉•福克纳(William Faulkner, 1897-1962)于1950年获1949年度的诺贝尔文学奖,是美国20世纪最重要的作家之一。他集现代主义、浪漫主义、现实主义于一身,在创作中大量使用各种传统和创新的手法,深刻而全面地探索了美国旧南方解体的根源并表现了处在历史性变革中的南方社会和南方人的精神危机。他对美国南方及整个西方世界的深刻的洞察力和他对小说形式与创作手法的卓有成效的实验与创新,日益引起读者和批评家的兴趣。根据美国人文学科权威杂志PLMA的统计,近年来在美国发表的关于福克纳的专著和论文以及每年完成的博士论文,在英语作家中,已占第二位,仅次于莎士比亚。近年来,国内对福克纳的研究迅速升温,每年都有不少论文发表。1992年在北大召开了第一次全国福克纳讨论会。
《喧哗与骚动》(The Sound and the Fury,1929 )是威廉•福克纳的第一部成熟的作品。书名出自莎士比亚悲剧《麦克白》第五幕有名台词:“人生如痴人说梦,充满着喧哗与骚动,却没有任何意义。”《喧哗与骚动》是一部独立的作品,但又是福克纳“整个南方史”系列中重要的一环。这部小说虽然发表时间较早,但反映的是旧南方走想没落这个过程的最后一个阶段。小说中描述的这个旧家族昔日的高傲和体面扫地而尽,旧有的腐败和混乱变得更为明显。康普生家长子自杀,次子光棍,三子痴呆,家族世系就此断根;一部南方的兴衰荣辱史,也以康普生家族的彻底败落而合卷告终。福克纳的声音融进了三十年代为整个“旧美国”送葬时唱起的挽歌。

二、    研究的基本内容,拟解决的主要问题:
本文以福克纳作品《喧哗与骚动》为研究对象,结合相关学者对福克纳以其作品以及美国南方历史研究的理论依据、研究步骤以及研究方法,首先介绍小说的背景和福克纳在南方的生活,然后逐一对小说中康普生三兄弟进行分析:班杰的叙述显现了旧南方衰落的征兆,昆丁的性格悲剧体现了旧南方精神思想的崩溃,杰生的冷酷自私体现了旧南方价值标准的溃败。康普生家经济地位、社会地位和道德精神上一落千丈的变迁,从一个侧面反映了南方迅速走向没落的历史过程。
三、研究的步骤、方法、措施及进度安排:
1.研究步骤:
(1)在指导老师的帮助下,通过网络资源以图书馆的资料,收集所写论题的相关文献,了解国内外对福克纳及其作品以及美国南方历史的研究状态和研究成果,确定论文题目;
(2)整理、总结和综合已有资料,如期收到指导下达的任务书并写出论文提纲;
(3)在指导老师的帮助下对论文提纲进行修改,完善论文提纲;
(4)根据指导老师的修改意见,反复修改开题报告,进一步完善论文的结构和内容;
(5)综合已有的资料和语料分析结果,完成了开题报告;在指导老师的指导下,着手论文初稿,从对小说背景和福克纳在南方的生活的介绍入手,通过对康普生三兄弟的性格分析,而得出是如何反映美国南方的没落完成初稿,并交由指导老师审阅;
(6)交第二稿、审稿、最后定稿答辩。
2.方法及措施:
 通过图书馆、因特网以及指导老师所提供的资料,查找相关领域的最新理论、收集资料和研究语料,认真对中外对福克纳及其作品以及美国南方历史的研究史总结,通过精读《喧哗与骚动》,仔细分析和研究康普生三兄弟的性格特点,更好地从他们身上找出美国南方没落的体现完成论文,在指导老师的帮助和指导下,结合同学之间的交流和沟通完善本研究。
3.进度安排:
(1)选题、定题: 月下旬;
(2)资料查询: 月中旬;
(3)写出开题报告及提纲: 月上旬;
(4)初稿: 月上旬;
(5)第二稿: 月中旬;
(6)中期检查: 月下旬;
(7)定稿: 日;
(8)答辩: 日 。
四、主要参考文献:
[1] Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Norton House, 1994.
[2] Howe, Irving. William Faulkner: A Critical Study. 2nd ed. New York: Random House, 1962.
[3] Inge, M. Thomas. “William Faulkner, Biography.” Ed. Taojie. Faulkner:Achievement and Endurance — Selected Papers International Conference on William Faulkner. Beijing: Peking University Press, 1998.
[4] James, Henry. Hawthorne at Brook Farm.
 [5] King, Richard H. A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, 1930-1955. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
[6] Millgate, Michael. “The Sound and the Fury.” Ed. Robert Penn Warren. Faulkner: A Collection of Critical Essays. London: Prentice-Hall, 1996.   
[7]Minter, David. William Faulkner: His Life and Work. London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980.
[8] Sartre, Jean-Paul. Literary and Philosophy Essays. London: Rosica Colin, Ltd, 1975.
[9] Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1997.
[10] Weinstein, Philip M. The Cambridge Company to William Faulkner. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2000.
[11] 常耀信:《美国文学简史》。天津:南开大学出版社, 2003年。
[12] 肖明翰:《威廉•福克纳研究》。北京:外语教学与研究出版社, 1999年。
[13] 杨金才:《新编美国文学史》。 上海:上海外语教育出版社, 2002年。
[14] 虞建华:《美国文学的第二次繁荣》。 上海:上海外语教育出版社,2003年。

Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………….…….……....1
1 The Southern Background and the Writer…………………………….….……2
  1.1 The Southern Background………………………………………….......... 2
  1.2 The Southern Renaissance…………………………………..…………... 4
  1.3 William Faulkner………………………………………………..……….5
2 Hint of the Fall of the South Through Benjy………………………..……….8
  2.1 A Faithfull “Glass”…………………………………………..………….8
  2.2 Death in the “Glass”…………………………………………....……..9
  2.3 Moral Decay in the “Glass”………………………………….………..10
3 Spiritual Collapse of the South Through Quentin…………………..…...…12
  3.1 The Heir of Southern Tradition and Code……………………..…..12
  3.2 A Weak Defender in Despair…………………………………..….....14
4 Value Corruption of the South Through Jason…………………….……….15
  4.1 An Evil Betrayer of Southern Values……………………..…........15
  4.2 A Cold-blooded Man Full of Hatred………………………..…..…16
Conclusion………………………………………………………….…………17
Works Cited…………………………………………………………..………..19
Acknowledgments……………………………………………………..……....20

 

Introduction
The Sound and the Fury is one of Faulkner’s masterpieces and also the one he liked most. The story focuses on the Compson family and is told in four chapters, by four very different voices, and out of chronological order. The first three chapters consist of the intricate thoughts, voice and memories of the three Compson brothers on three different days. The first chapter is narrated by Benjy, the youngest brother and an idiot on April 7th, 1928. The second chapter is told by Quentin, the oldest brother and a Harvard student on June Second, 1910. The narrator of the third chapter is Jason, another brother and a salesman who speaks on April 6th, 1928. Faulkner tells the fourth chapter in his own voice on April 8th, 1928, but focuses on Dilsey, the family’s Black cook who devoting herself to the family. 
The distinctive feature of the novel is that the three Compson brothers are not only the characters, but also the narrators. As narrators, what they see, think and speak presents the historical course of the Compson family from prosperity to decline. As characters, their existence, characteristics and mentality reflect the decay of the family, even the whole South. Through three Compson brothers The Sound and the Fury records the 30-years history of the Compsons’ decay from 1898 to 1928. Actually, it’s also the history of the American South. 
The Compson family is one of the several prominent names in the South. They ever had a general and governor in history. Their ancestors helped to construct the region and defended it during the Civil War. Since the war, the Compsons have gradually seen their wealth, land and status crumble away. 
For Benjy’s moaning, Quentin’s confusion and Jason’s indignation, the novel is a tale full of “sound and fury”, which presents a decaying American South: the corruption of the Southern tradition and values, the moral decay and the spiritual collapse under the conflict between the old Southern values and the developing capitalistic materialism.
1 The Southern background and the writer
1.1 The Southern background
In his study of Hawthorn, Henry James asserted: “…the flower of art only blooms where the soil is deep, that it takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature, that it needs a complex social machinery to set a writer in motion” (35). This word depicts the relationship between literature and society vividly. Everyone is the product of the social and cultural tradition of a certain region, no matter what attitude he holds to it. Tradition, lives deep in one’s vein, determines one’s way of thinking and living. This is shown thoroughly in Faulkner who lives in a small town of the American South and builds a fictional world according to his hometown and writes the history, life, expectation, happiness and bitterness of these familiar people in his novels. Actually, being born into a southern family with a fairly long tradition is perhaps the most important of all the influence that made him what he become: a major writer in American literature. Therefore, Faulkner’s thoughts and works have a very close relation with Southern society, history and cultural tradition. To understand Faulkner and his works, we must take a good look at the Southern background.
1.1.1 Agrarian economy and other features of the South
When we mention the South, the first things occurring to us are the countryside, the plantation and the slaves that reflect the characteristic of the South, that is, agrarian economy. Actually, up to the half of 20th most areas in the south were still traditional society. With the large use of black slaves, planter was built various manors. Therefore, manorial economy and slavery became the basis of the Southern society before the Civil War. Because of this economic pattern, Southerners have a strong feeling of family and community. They are very sensitive to the prosperity or decline, honor or disgrace of their families and community, even the whole South. This feature of the Southerners is embodied in almost Faulkner’s every work.
And racism has long become the most sensitive, emotional, and inevitable problem in the South. It is a shadow, a curse hovering over every Southerner. Until 20th century. The main trend of southern literature is beautifying the life style and slavery. But after WWII, more and more southern writers began to realize the true history and explore the real reason behind the decay of the South, think about the existence of South today, and try to find a way for the social and spiritual problems of the whole western world. Faulkner is an outstanding figure among them. He never stops criticizing the injustice on the blacks. But we can’t ignore that as a Southerner, Faulkner is deeply influenced by racism. Of course he is never against the black. On the contrary, he does not even created an evil nigger character in his novels. But when his standards of a good nigger are definitely of a manor owner: honest, naïve, kind-hearted, obedient, especially loyal, all of which are integral merits of a good slave. This contradict restricts his literature creation.
No modern writer can compare to Faulkner in using the Bible in his or her works. For instance, in The Sound and the Fury, the time line is the Passion Week, i.e., Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. What’s more, in the beginning, Benjy is 33, which is the very age of Jesus when he was crucified. The unusual frequent quotation of the Bible has its deep cause. The foundation of America cultural, especially the South, is puritanism. After the Civil War, the loss of the old South made many people turn to religion, and the power of the church is ever growing. Faulkner once commented Christianity is part of his background and many critics consider that his backward-looking historic consciousness and the conservatism are rooted in the Calvinistic tradition. 
1.1.2 The Civil War and its influence
Another issue which affects the South very much is the Civil War. The defeat in the Civil War is almost a vital hurt to the South which needs quite a long period to recover in physics as well as in mentality and morality. The famous critic Irving Howe states: “After its defeat in the Civil War, the South could not participate fully and freely in the normal development of American society — that is, industrialism —and large-scale capitalism arrived there later and with far less force than in the North or West”(22). Therefore, the South was the most impoverished region in the United States after the Civil War. In addition, Mississippi, Faulkner’s hometown, was in the most straitened circumstances among the Southern states. Numbers can speak everything. According to the statistics in 1880, per capita income in other states was 1,086 dollars, while in the South it was 376 dollars, but in Mississippi, per capita income was only 286 dollars. In 1920s when Faulkner grew up and determined to make a living by pen, the economy of the United State was flourished and developing rapidly. But this was not the case in the South, especially not in Mississippi which seemed to be forgotten. The income per person increased to 396 dollars which was still less than one third of the per capita national income. Mississippi was even the first one on the list of the national economic problems at the end of the Great Depression. Poverty and backwardness of the South was only one side of the coin. 
Actually, when Faulkner was a youngster, the South was faced with great changes in its society and culture. With the abolition of slavery and the outset of industrialism, the agrarian economy in the South began to collapse and people were transferring from the countryside to towns and cities. But the changes in Southern economy, society and culture were still at the initial stage, so they affected people’s mentality and thinking violently. Some began to doubt the traditional concepts; some even betrayed their original values and took pursuing personal gain as their only goal; while some who made up a relatively large number still clung to the Southern tradition and code even in abnormal mentality. Many Southerners feared, disliked and even hated the change. These turbulent years when the tradition collapsed and people were in anxiety are just the historical background of The Sound and the Fury and Faulkner's other works.
1.2 The Southern Renaissance
In the times when Faulkner lived, the American South which once was called “Cultural Desert” was

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