I’m about a quarter of the way into the book as of right now (December 19, 2007 8:55 PM). The first chapter does not have much of a plot to it. A group of soldiers are on a train. One of the soldiers is badly disfigured, and some of the characters believe that he is going to die.
December 25, 2007 8:48 PM—The injured soldier is Lt. Donald Mahon. The action revolves around Jim Gilligan, Mrs. Powers, Donald’s father, an Episcopal rector in Charlestown, and a few other characters. One, Januarius Jones, functions more or less as comic relief. He seems to be afflicted with a bad case of satyrism. He is fat, and fancies himself a ladies man. He is always unsuccessful with women.
Donald’s injury causes his fiancee, Cecily, to react with horror and withdraw from him. Donald is essentially passive, and the novel focuses not on him, but on the thoughts of the characters around him.
The story is ultimately tragic, and ends with Mrs. Powers marrying, and then burying Donald,
Faulkner at this time apparently thought of himself as a poet, and he appears to strive too much for poetical effect, but the story is affecting, and moving.