In April 1961, writer and Nobel Laureate in Literature William Faulkner received the Order of Andrés Bello in Venezuela, by former President Rómulo Betancourt. His acceptance speech was fully delivered in Spanish.
Now, I’m not quite sure if Radiohead’s band members are very familiar with William Faulkne’s books or not; as far as we know, they were quite crazy about Naomi Klein’s book “No Logo” while recording both Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001).
Nonetheles, listening to one of my personal favorite songs of theirs - over and over - made me realize that there’s a really curious resemblance between its lyrics and one of the main characters in “The Sound and the Fury”.
This book is mainly characterized by its stream of consciousness narrative; a writing style Radiohead members are…very fond of, if you ask me. Now, the next part has a lot to do with the book’s second section so watch out for spoilers.
“I jumped in the river”: At the end of the book’s second section, its main character, the most tormented of the Compson brothers, Quentin, commits suicide by jumping into the Charles River and drowning.
“Black-eyed angels swan with me”: Throughout this entire section, Quentin’s seeing contemplating death. It’s also quite prominent the fact that the Compson family’s rather. This line would point at the fact that he’s well aware of what he’s doing and, since suicide is considered a sin, he’s seeing “black-eyed angels” (i.e. demons).
“A moon full of stars and astral cars”: This is typical when it comes to a stream of consciousness type of narrative; his mind is going back and forth and every single detail becomes significant, even symbolical. He does commit suicide at night, but he’s also seeing “astral cars” and “figures”. Now this last bit makes me think more of his younger brother, Benjy, who perceives the world as figures and scents.
“All of my lovers where there with me”: At one point of this section, Quentin brags to his sister about all of the girls he’s slept with. Truth is, Quentin’s never done anything of the sort before, meaning he doesn’t have “lovers” at all. When the main character of Pyramid Song says this line, it’s implying that he’s completely alone.
“All my past and future”: I remember reading once that this second section is like a car heading full speed towards a concrete wall, while the driver’s looking back. We find Quentin reminiscing about the past a lot in this section; he literally lives in the past while his present becomes a sort of background in which everything that happens will also make him think of the past. Given he’s committed suicide, his future is certain as well and now, he has both with him. It’s also prominent throughout this section the concept of time and how obsessed Quentin is with it.
“We all went to heaven in a little row boat”: There’s a sort of boat race competition being held at Harvard by the time he drowns.
“There was nothing to fear, nothing to doubt”: Quentin seems to take his imminent and tragic ending quite calmly; as if it was the most logical solution to his inner turmoil. He jumps off the bridge without feeling no fear; he doesn’t hesitate about it so there’s no doubt about the only way out he’s chosen to get rid of everything that’s been tormenting him.