Using Digital Yoknapatawpha in the Classroom

Space and Time in The Sound and the Fury

Stephen Railton

The three videos here try to do two things at more or less the same time: demonstrate some of the ways you can use Digital Yoknapatawpha in your classroom or research, and develop a reading of some of the novel's major themes. I'd like to think you'll watch all three in order, but each is reasonably self-sufficient, and time cues are provided for each of them if you are interested in seeing a particular DY function - the search engines, for example, or a force-directed graph of the novel. At the bottom of this page we also list the textual events referenced in the videos, identified by the first words of each passage. I also advise watching the videos after reading different sections of the novel: video 1 after reading April Seventh, 1928; video 2 after reading June Second, 1910, and April Sixth, 1928; and video 3 after reading April Eighth, 1928.

The first 8-minute video focuses on Benjy's section to explore how Faulkner's use of the stream-of-consciousness narrative technique - locating the narrative inside Benjy's perceptions and memories - to dramatize the presence of the past and to contrast the chaos of reality with the order and significance the artist can create.

  • Using the Map (0:00 - 5:40)
  • Using the Search engine (5:40 - 6:38)
  • Using the MapIt function (6:38 - 7:37)

The second video looks at Quentin's and Jason's sections to explore the particular kind of "past" that matters in this novel - the personal or psychological past - which makes The Sound and the Fury Faulkner's most Freudian fiction.

  • Using the Map (0:00 - 1:30)
  • Using the Timelines (1:30 - 2:46)
  • Comparing Texts (2:46 - 4:26)
  • Drilling down into the data (5:00 - 6:00)

The third video focuses on the novel's last section. This is often called "Dilsey's section," but impressive as Dilsey's character is, Faulkner locates her story in a context defined by the novel's larger themes as a Modernist fiction. In what might better be called the Easter section, he juxtaposes her traditional faith with the godlessness of the Compsons' world, a world defined by what's absent, in which Jason and Benjy seek but cannot find something that does not signify nothingness.

  • Playing Audio Clips (0:25 - 1:45)
  • Using the Timeline (2:42 - 3:35)
  • Force-Directed Graphing (3:35 - 6:10)
  • Drilling down into the data (6:37 - 8:04)

Passages mentioned in video 1:
Through the fence, between the curling flower (page 3)
and came to the garden fence, where our shadows were. (page 4)
Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through (page 4)
What are you moaning about, Luster said (page 6)
"They aint nothing over yonder but houses." Luster said. (page 14)
She was wet. We were playing in the (page 17)
and swung her to the left at the monument. (page 320)

Passages mentioned in video 2:
Mother was in her room. I gave her (Pages 218-221)
I got the car and went home. Once this morning (Pages 235-238)
So I went on, and when I came to where (Pages 239-243)
I wont have my daughter spied on I wouldn't have. (page 96)

Passages mentioned in video 3:
He took Ben's arm and drew him up (page 315)
"I got de ricklickshun en de blood of de Lamb!" (page 295)
Jason sprang up. (page 280)
I went to the dresser and took up the watch, with the face (page 80)

Citing this source:
Stephen Railton, "Space and Time in The Sound and the Fury." Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, (Date added to project: 2020)