The coming suicide which casts its shadow over Quentin's last day is not a human possibility; not for a second does Quentin envisage the possibility of not killing himself. This suicide is an immobile wall, a thing which he approaches backwards, and which he neither wants to nor can conceive.
It is not an undertaking, but a fatality. In losing its element of possibility it ceases to exist in the future. It is already present, and Faulkner's entire art aims at suggesting to us that Quentin's monologues and his last walk are already his suicide. This, I think, explains the following curious paradox: Quentin thinks of his last day in the past, like someone who is remembering. But in that case, since the hero's last thoughts coincide approximately with the bursting of his memory and its annihilation, who is remembering? The inevitable reply is that the novelist's skill consists in the choice of the present moment from which he narrates the past. And Faulkner, like Salacrou in L'Inconnu d'Arras, has chosen the infinitesimal instant of death.
my favorite works are those that use its chosen medium to convey ideas or constructs impossible by other avenues. for this reason, "the sound and the fury" is my favorite work of long-form literature for how it contorts and envelops abstract concepts that only words can present in our thoughts.
this essay by satre explores some of the key aspect of what he calls the "metaphysics" of time in the story and how it marries itself to the narrative beyond a writer's gimmick-- a great companion piece for the book.
the phrase "infinitesimal instant of death" has stuck with me for years.