It’s hardly a surprise that fury might be a word to which William Faulkner is particularly partial—surprising only that it appears but twice in The Sound and the Fury, outside of the title itself. (Twice, along with a small handful of furiouses.)
That rather restrained use of the word was apparently a mere warmup for the heated workout that fury gets in the pages of Absalom, Absalom!, which exercises such variations as “a fury of wild-eyed horses,” “the fury of the struggle for the facts,” “what fury which would not let him rest,” and, as noted in the previous grim itemization, “that grim virago fury of female affront.”
But that’s only the first lap around the track. There is also “driving fury,” “irrational fury,” “alert fury,” “solitary fury,” “antic fury,” “repressed fury,” “despairing fury,” “immediate fury,” and “incompressible fury.” In addition to the solitary brand of fury, there are many partnered variants as well: “fury and implacability,” “fury and despair,” “the hate and the fury,” and—it only stands to reason—“the fury and hate.”
As for the adjective form, a cannon “crumble[s] to dust in its own furious blast and recoil.” We survey one character’s “state of impotent and furious undefeat.” (Undefeat. You read that right.) Among the book’s easygoing dramatis personae are a “furious mad old man,” a “furious lecherous wreck,” and a “furious grim implacable woman.”
There is “furious impatience,” “furious desire,” “furious protest,” and “furious thinking”; “furious and unbending will,” “furious and indomitable desperation,” “furious and almost unbearable unforgiving,” plus “furious and incomprehensible and apparently reasonless moving.” And on the flip side of reasonless moving, in the too-angry-to-even-budge category: “furious inertness,” “furious immobility,” “furious immobile urgency,” and “furious yet absolutely rocklike and immobile antagonism.”
Quentin and Miss Coldfield, the characters introduced in the first chapter sitting in a dead room in a dead house with dead paint on its walls, are featured in the last chapter’s climactic conflagration, “Miss Coldfield screaming harshly, ‘The window! The window!’”—seemingly getting into the spirit of the whole repeated-word business. Appropriately then, as rescuers attempt to tear the unwilling old woman away, the scene is described: “Quentin could see it: the light thin furious creature making no sound at all now, struggling with silent and bitter fury….” Now that gal is mad. Furiouser and furiouser!