Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mass Nothingness

An excerpt from William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury completes Chapter 16 of the Book Passages series. This passage provided my biggest challenge yet in this photographic series. Heavy on character development this excerpt was very difficult to interpret without getting a better idea of the background of each character mentioned in the passage as well as an overall summary of Faulkner's complex intent of the novel. So for the third time in this visual journey I had to get some brief information on this book so that I could proceed with the interpretation. Below is my interpretation of the submitted book excerpt. Your feedback is always appreciated.

William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury:

"I could smell the curves of the river beyond the dusk and I saw the last light supine and tranquil upon tide flats like pieces of broken mirror, then beyond them lights began in the pale clear air, trembling a little like butterflies hovering a long way off. Benjamin the child of. How he used to sit before that mirror. Refuge unfailing in which conflict tempered silenced reconciled. Benjamin the child of mine old age held hostage into Egypt. O Benjamin. Dilsey said it was because Mother was too proud for him. They come into white people's lives like that in sudden sharp black trickles that isolate white facts for an instant in unarguable truth like under a microscope: the rest of the time just voices that laugh when you see nothing to laugh at, tears when no reason for tears."




9 comments:

Michelle Sheldon said...

I think these pictures are wonderful on their own! I don't know the book and I felt a bit clueless reading the passage, but I really love the pictures!

Naomi said...

I felt clueless, too; it has been a couple of decades since I read the book. I think the first image (with the closed jar) reminds me of the "hostage" part of the passage, but I also like the perspective in the third image, where the trees are more visible.

eddee said...

Excellent interpretations, Bill! I agree with the others, they stand on their own, too. Glad to see that you were up to the challenge.

Jay said...

I love these images for there quiet
moodiness,serenity and contemplative effect. I am not familiar with the passage and I agree they all stand on their own. Great images!

Bill Zuback said...

Thanks for the comments. The novel is about one family of wealth and prominence that loses their status after the Civil War. From the Cliff Notes I read, the story has many angles but the underlying thread is about the "nothingness", emptiness of life. I felt that the preserve jar became a good symbol of both the preservation of family but touching on other potential dysfunctional aspects of family such as the collection of family secrets and feeling imprisoned in the structure of family.

JB said...

As usual, Bill, the photographs look great. The overwhelming density of the swamp vs. the jar with what appear to be unformed humans/ dolls. There is something really archetypal about a swamp. It's what we all emerged from both literally and figuratively. I'm relishing the idea of having a Zuback around the house. I am consulting with my daughter via your blog about what photographs she likes the best. Personally, I could never get the image of the nude with the grocery cart with the naked guy in it out of my mind.

Anonymous said...

As i begin to smell the curve of the river the absence of color reflects the sandiness of a glass jar....Glass containers possess an inertness made chimera by tavern lighting. Swamp lighting intermixed with smell is glass jar collectible. Life is glass jar reflectable. Your setting is as clear as the title: "The Sound and the Fury". Great shots!

Frieda Babbley said...

I've read this book a couple of times. Faulkner has a unique style of writing and the stream of consciousness in his works make it difficult to just pick up and read from anywhere and expect to really get a grasp of the plotline.

I love all of these, but have to say that I am partial to the center one. There is something about the horizontal composition of it (including the jar) that strikes me as being more dreamlike and vast, if that makes any sense to anyone.

I do have to say, however, that the trees in the last photo capture me. It's as if they were moving and you caught them in the middle of their moment, which is quite Faulkneresque.

Bill Zuback said...

Your description of Faulkner, his writing and this specific novel is helpful in understanding the struggle I had with this interpretation.