Benjamin "Benjy" Compson

The reader gets acquainted with Benjy on the day of his 33rd birthday — April 7, 1928. It is a deaf-mute person with an underdeveloped psyche, completely helpless, whom others consider an idiot. Benjy doesn’t understand what is going on around him. He is not capable of speaking and clearly thinks. His feelings Benjy expresses with inarticulate screams and howl and distinguishes the surrounding people only by the smell. For him, there is neither the past nor the present. In life, Benjy loves only three things: the lawn on which he plays, the fire and his sister Caddy, who is the only one who treats him like a human. His 33-year-old life is marked by only three important events: Caddy is gone, his favorite lawn is being sold, he makes a pass at the schoolgirl on the street, for which he is punished with a forced castration.

Benjy does not understand the reasons for and the meaning of what is happening, but he is able to suffer, feeling the invasion of his life by someone's evil will. In the novel, the image of Benjy symbolizes the absurdity of the world. The name of Faulkner's book is connected to it. The writer uses a quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth: life is ‘a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.’ Creating the image of Benjy Faulkner, by his own admission, wanted to show ‘the idea of the blind, self-centeredness of innocence, typified by children if one of those children had been truly innocent, that is, an idiot.’

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Benjamin "Benjy" Compson in the Essays