A Feeling you Cannot Name

Clocks and Time in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree

Marco Petrelli    La Sapienza Università di Roma, Italia    



This essay is devoted to a thematic comparative analysis of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree. Focusing on the recurring watch motif, the aim is to show the evolvement of a pivotal issue in Southern US literature: the troubled relationship with (social) time and history. The comparison is triggered by some passages in which McCarthy clearly rewrites Faulkner’s novel. Quentin Compson, the narrator from the second section of The Sound and the Fury, is obsessed with the passing of time – a fixation which is embodied in the watch that his father gave him. Cornelius Suttree shares the same obsession about time and clocks, and, just like Quentin, he is also tormented by an ambiguous relationship with the Southern aristocratic society he is part of. The Sound and the Fury and Suttree are hence tied together in their critique of the social neuroses of the South through the depiction of a biased sense of time.

Sept. 30, 2016
July 5, 2016
April 9, 2016

Keywords: TimeCormac McCarthyWilliam FaulknerSouthern Gothic

Copyright: © 2016 Marco Petrelli. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.