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Addie's Revenge Essay

1810 words - 7 pages

Addie's Revenge

In William Faulkner's novel "As I lay Dying" the reader learns about each character through the eyes of that person so to speak. Most of the important characters minds are revealed through the unique personalities and idiosyncrasies of the Bundren family, and those they encountered. One of the characters is Addie Bundren, the matriarch of the clan, and the person who's death this story moves upon. Although Addie is dead for most of the book, Faulkner still shows Addie's feelings and attitude in a chapter in which she seemingly speaks from the dead. From this scene we learn about Addie's personality. As a whole Addie is a pessimistic and unfulfilled woman, who marries the ignorant Anse Bundren on a whim. Addie also admits for caring for only two of her children, the rest she labels "Anse's children", who are born out of an obligation. This obligation to Anse spawned from the fact that she had a son borne out of an affair with the priest Whitfield to bear her second child Jewel. As stated before Addie is a bitter woman and believes Anse is to blame for many of her shortcomings. These shortcomings started namely with her unwanted birth to her second child Darl.

Because of Addie's bitter anger toward Anse, she curses Anse with her revenge, after death. Her revenge involved telling Anse to take her body back to her hometown of Jefferson, which is a very long trip to make with a rotting dead body. Addie realizes that this will be an undignified, dangerous, and tedious consuming trip. Since Addie will be dead and gone her instinctive safeguard in this plan is "her" son Jewel who she prophesied would save her from the "fire and the water" and make sure she got to Jefferson. With Addie's plan in motion and her safeguard in place, I believe Addie still could not punish the infantile but slick Anse Bundren despite Jewel's instinctive effort, because of Anse's hidden intelligence and improvisational skills.

Anse Bundren seemingly the most country bumpkin you could ever meet has at least one thing going for him. That is that he innocently knows how to play with people's perceptions of him. When we see Anse for the first time it is explained to us that he does not work because he got sick once. This portrayal of Anse is of a sickly man who culls people's sympathy. In another varying instance, on his way to Jefferson, Anse portrays a simple father carrying out his dead wife's last wish and single-handedly taking care of his unruly kids. This totally varying portrayal still garnishes the same sub- conscious feelings of sympathy from others that don't know Anse. This ability of Anse helps combat an aspect of Addie's plan. This aspect of the plan was that Addie would make Anse suffer through the indignity of carrying around her dead stinking carcass. A good example is when the family is well on their way to Jefferson and stop in the city of Mottson. While stopping in the middle of the street they were told to leave...

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