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seed de beginnin, en now I sees de endin.
Dilsey says these words during the Easter church service in the final section of the novel, just after she learns that Miss Quentin has left. Dilsey’s comment reveals her insight into the Compson family tragedy and her ability to see it in the context of a greater cycle. Dilsey has been present since the beginning, when the Compson children were only babies, and she is still here at the end, the culmination of the family’s disintegration. In this sense, Dilsey represents a constant in the novel. She has maintained the pure Southern values of faith, love, and family that the Compsons have long abandoned.
Dilsey endures the test of time, surviving because she has conviction and faith in her own vision of eternity that is completely free of worldliness or petty human concerns. Dilsey has no preoccupation with time because she has faith in a spiritual eternity, which enables her to see the tragedies of the Compson family with perspective and distance. Her acceptance of the passage of time makes her a calming and comforting presence. Dilsey accepts that she, like the Compson family, has a beginning and an end. She uses the time she is given to do as much good as she can, rather than wasting it on obsessions with the past.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Sound and the Fury!