I’m currently reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, which is proving to be the most difficult book that I’ve picked up all year. It’s a slow-going but rewarding trek so far – it has taken me a week to get through the first section. From what I can tell so far, the book follows the Compson family who live in Faulkner’s famous Yoknapatawpha County. Each section is narrated by a different family member, and I am slowly piecing together the family’s history as I go.
The first section is narrated by Benjy, who is mentally handicapped and has no distinction between past and present, so everything is told as if it were happening in the present. He is dependent on and very affectionate of his older sister Caddy. He equates her with the smell of trees, a sentiment which is repeated throughout the first section.
“Caddy smelled like trees in the rain.”
Inspired by Kimberly’s earlier post on the smell of hometowns, I thought I would look into perfumes that smell like trees to get a better understanding of how Caddie smelled to Benjy. Here are two that I think would suit Caddie well.
Memoirs of a Trespasser, by Imaginary Authors – I love the name of this perfume. I think it would suit Caddy’s descent into adulthood and promiscuity. It has notes of Madagascar Vanilla, Guaiac Wood, Myrrh, Benzoin Resin, Ambrette Seeds & Oak Barrels.
Guaiac Wood is one of the hardest and most resilient woods in the world and has been used for many medicinal purposes. From what I can tell so far, Caddy is a head-strong and resilient girl, so this would be fitting for her!
Sienna, by DSH perfumes – this one is described as “redolent, distinctive and tempting. Cinnamon leaf, curry leaf and pink pepper are at the top, followed by basmati, cinnamon bark, honey and white oak. Civet, labdanum, leather, peru balm and tolu balm form the base.”
Maybe ironically, one of the sweetest scenes in the first section occurs when Caddy wears perfume. Benjy has a meltdown because she no longer smells like trees, and when she realizes what is bothering him, she washes off her perfume, and they give the bottle away to Dilsey, their family’s housekeeper. So maybe Caddy wouldn’t need either perfume that I’ve picked out after all!
Have you read The Sound and the Fury? Do you have any helpful hints for me?