In the novel, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, there is a character by the name of Quentin Compson. Growing up, he had a mother who never loved any of her children, and did not show any sort of affection. She would often say that her children were a punishment for her sins. His father was an alcoholic (124 ). Quentin was smart, and when he grew up he attended Harvard University. At one point his sister, Candace (who also goes by Caddy) reminded him that he must finish school otherwise Benji’s pasture was sold for no reason (154 ). The book describes a special love that Quentin had for his sister, and told us how protective he was of her as well as the jealousy that he felt. The first time Caddy kissed a boy, Quentin got extremely upset and slapped her. After this he tried to make Caddy jealous (Butery 214). Dalton Herbert, Caddy’s soon to be husband does not realize that she was talking about her brother because she always talked as if he was her husband (108 ). Quentin felt humiliated, betrayed and hurt when Caddy picked Dalton over him (126 ). So he ends up threatening Dalton, telling him that he must leave by sunset or he will kill him (198 ), but this was not intimidating to him and when they started to fight, as he was easily able to overpower Quentin. Dalton challenged his manhood by handing him a gun, giving Quentin a chance to shoot him, but he is so afraid that he ends up fainting (199 ). Quentin also gets into a fight with T.P. at Caddy’s wedding and with Gerald Bland. He was starting to withdraw from his environment, and the depression was taking over him. Often he would imagine his own body drifting down the Charles River (Butery 223). Unfortunately, he chooses taking his own life by jumping off the bridge into the river.
Quentin Compson was not the only fictional character who was misunderstood, in season three, episode 16 of Criminal Minds, there was a teenage boy named Owen Savage who grew up in West Bune, Texas. His mother died in a drunk driving accident when he was young (00:10:10-00:10:25), this left him with severe abandonment issues when his father started to abuse him (00:31:50-00:31:52). His father was a U.S. Marine who was forced to return early after Owen’s mother died, he was left to raise him alone (00:10:24-00:10:42). At the beginning of the episode, we see that his father had a gun safe inside of the house, and Owen figured out the keycode and was able to retrieve all of the guns (00:11:10-00:11:45). Growing up, his father did not understand his son had difficulties when learning, he just assumed that his child was stupid and he had no problem telling him that. We find out that Owen was actually brilliant and extremely tech savvy, it was just that he just was not good at reading (00:17:38-00:17:56). He was in love with a girl named Jordan (00:19:37-00:19:35), who was also abused by her father (00:19:21-00:19:35). Owen killed their fathers in order to try to protect himself and Jordan. In her first year of high school, she was taken advantage of by a senior (00:20:02-00:20:40), and Owen ended up killing him for hurting her (00:14:05-00:14:12). He tried to join the wrestling team at school to get his father’s approval, but the people on the team told Owen that he had to masturbate in front of them as an initiation process for joining the team and he was unaware that they were filming him. They posted the video to the school’s social networking site and they were never punished for their actions (00:20:45-00:21:52). In the episode, Owen kills three boys for humiliating him (00:23:13-00:23:31). Owen was taking the lives of the people who had wronged him and Jordan (00:24:28-00:24:33). He made sure that he found a place where both of them could stay in while he was hiding from the police (00:16:35-00:16:43). Owen made sure that Jordan was happy and fed, and she had no idea that he had killed these people (00:32:15-00:33:00). The FBI was able to contact Jordan with the help of her only friend. They sent her a message on the PDA that Owen had got her after her father had taken her phone away (00:32:15-00:34:00). She snuck out of the ranch, and went straight to the police station, leaving behind the necklace that Owen had given to her. It was originally his mothers (00:34:14-00:36:08). Even though Jordan told the FBI where they were, Owen had already left (00:36:10-00:36:41). The song “Hurt” by Johnny Cash started playing in the background: “What have I become? My sweetest friend. Everyone I love goes away, in the end. And you can have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt. If I could start again, a million miles away; I would keep myself, I would find a way.” Spencer Reid, one of the main characters on the show, knew that he was on his way back to the station to give Jordan back the necklace, and not on his way to his mother’s grave (00:36:46-00:37:50). Spencer had only figured this out because he could relate to Owen on some level as he was also bullied as a child (00:29:57-00:31:05). Even though Owen wanted to die, Spencer made sure that his team did not hurt him, and then gave him the opportunity to say goodbye and give Jordan the necklace before they took him away to jail (00:38:55-00:42:00).
Quentin and Owen have some similarities, both feel immense pressure from their family act differently then who they are. Both individuals grew up being abused and always told that they were never good enough, which in turn set them up for mental health issues as adults. Many studies have connected childhood abuse to various psychological problems that can be experienced later in life, one example being: depression (Springer 864). It seems as though Quentin and Owen suffered with severe depression, both displaying the following symptoms: feelings of emptiness or hopelessness, anger, irritability, aggression, thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide, inability to keep up with life’s responsibilities, withdrawing and isolating, and general loss of interest with what they used to enjoy (Men and Depression). Depression can also be connected to the pressure to conform to a more masculine lifestyle, which in turn, can cause the individual to feel a lack of connectedness and control (Oliffe 466). Even in today’s society we see families in the south that do not accept their own child for who they are and will mentally and emotionally abuse them to conform them into what they want them to be. There have been many who have taken their own life because they can not handle the pressure anymore. Due to the lack of unconditional love for individuals who are different, I believe that The Sound and the Fury confirms my view on the south. It seems as though both fathers rarely validated their sons, and through their actions and words they repeatedly told them that their feelings did not matter and that they should be pushed down and ignored. Quentin’s father simply tells his son to get over it after learning about his son and daughter’s relationship. Even though Owen’s father was a cop, he did not help his son get justice after the wrestling team posted a video of him mastrubating as an annitiation, which says that he does not care about validating his son’s feelings. The non-importance put on feelings is key in toxic masculinity, and after comparing both the book, and the show, my opinions on the south still stand.
In conclusion, both Quentin Compson (The Sound and the Fury) and Owen Savage (Criminal Minds, season 3, episode 6) were given unrealistic expectations to live up to as they were growing up, which in turn, caused them extreme psychological issues. The abuse, neglect and toxic masculinity in their families lead to an inner pain that they felt would not go away, and in the end, Quentin chose to take his own life, and Owen was taken away to jail for his crimes. The sad truth is that these issues are still a big problem in today’s world, and they are not just fiction. It is my hope that the human race will be more careful, and try to reduce any actions that may severely affect an individual psychologically to the point they feel alone, hopeless and as if they want to die. Until, this happens, my view of the south, and the way they treat their children will not change. In the words of John Steinbeck: “A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker than a germ” (Steinbeck 48).
Butery, Karen A. From Conflict to Suicide: The Inner Turmoil of Quentin Compson. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 49, no. 3, 1989, pp. 211-224.
Elephant’s Memory. Criminal Minds, season 3, episode 16, CBS Television Studios, 16 Apr. 2008
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1929.
Johnny Cash. Hurt. American IV: The Man Comes Around, Universal Records, 2002.
Men and Depression. National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/index.shtml.
Oliffe, John L., et al. Masculinities and College Men’s Depression: Recursive Relationships. Health Sociology Review, vol. 19, no. 4, 2010, pp. 465-477.
Springer, Kristen W., et al. The Long-Term Health Outcomes of Childhood Abuse: An Overview and a Call to Action. Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 18, no. 10, 2003, pp. 864-870.
Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley: In Search of America. New York, Penguin Books, 1980