Example research essay topic: Character Analysis From Faulkner’s Sound And The Fury – 548 words

Quentin is totally obsessed and consumed by time.
From his constant references to shadows, to his
grandfathers watch, to the various clocks and
other timepieces denoted in the section, Quentin
is completely consumed by his reflections
concerning time. It is this infatuation that
drives Quentin mad. His madness stems from his
personal feelings on time, and his fathers cynical
outlook on time and life in general. This section
begins with Quentin waking in his dorm room to the
sun coming through the shades of the window. He
knows immediately, just from gauging the shadow
cask from the drapes, that it is between seven and
eight oclock: When the shadow of the sash appeared
on the curtains it was between seven and eight
oclock (p. 76).

The first thing he is aware of is
the ticking of his grandfathers pocket watch,
given to him by his father. He then remembers what
his father told him upon giving him the watch. The
timepiece represents the absurdity of human
existence in that it ticks off time that cannot be
brought back. It is not possible to do all that a
person wants to because the watch is constantly
ticking off time, or, as Quentins father
sarcastically puts it, slaying it. Quentin does
not agree with his fathers observation. He would
rather think of the time he has, rather than dwell
on the fact that he is just loosing time and that
life is absurd.

This is where much of his insanity
stems from, the contradictory feelings of his
father and himself. Quentins father seems to think
that it is important to realize that the watch is
not there to show the time, but to help one
realize that time is passing by. Quentins father
says I give you the mausoleum of all hope and
desire; its rather excruciating-ly apt that you
will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all
human experience which can fit you individual
needs no better than it fitted his or his fathers
(p.76). This is why Quentin goes to the clock
shop. It is not important for him to know the
time. The ticking of the clocks reminds him of his
fathers words about the absurdity of life.

This is
both comforting and distressing to Quentin. He is
comforted by the memory of his father, while at
the same time repulsed by it. That is why he
leaves the shop in such a hurry. Quentins
obsession with shadows seems to show his need to
know that time is not a purely mechanical device,
but a thing that can have a more personal meaning.
The shadow is a representation of the person. It
is always there, and will not pass away. It cannot
be slain.

While the watch, as Quentins father
believes, is a device for destroying time, the
shadow, as Quentin would rather believe,
represents the present. This contradiction in
thought leads to Quentins insanity and ultimate
suicide. Quentin is unable to deal with the
contradictory thoughts in his head. His fathers
cynicism had deeply affected Quentin. The reducto
absurdum of life conflicts with his own beliefs on
time and life. In the end, he feels he has to
separate himself from the present, the shadows.
The only way to accomplish this is to kill
himself..

Research essay sample on Character Analysis From Faulkners Sound And The Fury