This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Death And Unity In As I Lay Dying

1085 words - 4 pages

Consistently throughout Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, death is a prevalent and primary concern. Certainly, the death and burial of the matriarch, Addie Bundren, is what centres the novel, but there are many other cases of death throughout the modernist text. Dewey Dell, the only daughter of the Bundren family, longs for the death of her pregnancy, and also suffers from the death of her self-worth through sexual violence. Vardaman, the youngest of the Bundrens, experiences the death of his youth following his mother’s demise, and Darl’s sanity deteriorates along the family’s journey.
While the children mourn the loss of their mother, Anse, the Bundren patriarch, does not appear to have felt the loss of his wife in a similar way. Instead, Anse works toward advancement in his personal life through acquiring new teeth and a new Mrs. Bundren. The motley crew that is the Bundren family goes through tribulations that no family should have to endure, and throughout these trials, death is at the epicentre. Although this death manifests in many ways throughout the text, the Bundren family appears to have grown stronger and more unified throughout their odyssey to Jefferson.
Elizabeth M. Kerr writes, “Addie alive was not a redemptive figure. Dead, she was a peril and an offense” (8). Faulkner’s audience is not introduced to Addie’s private stream-of-consciousness prior to her death but, in her life, she does not gain much sympathy from the reader. Although it is not completely clear, it appears that Addie’s final word is “Cash!” While this could be construed as an act of love for her eldest child, it surfaces negatively; an admonishment toward the child that is carefully constructing a coffin for her. Deeper sympathy for Cash arises when reading his thoughts regarding building the coffin on the bevel (Faulkner, 82-83). It is obvious that Cash cares deeply for Addie and wishes her to be comfortable even in death.
Dewey Dell, one of the two children that Addie gave to Anse (Faulkner, 176), does not appear to suffer from any physical or mental mishap, but her sense of hopefulness is dead. On the family’s journey, she hides her pregnancy but longs to rid her body of it. She is an atypical teenager, forced to become the matriarch of the Bundren family, and a “damsel in distress” (Kerr, 8). However, she is not rescued by the conclusion of Faulkner’s work, continuing the theme of parodying a “happy ending.” It is unclear whether the medicine that MacGowan gave Dewey Dell was to give her an abortion but it is crystal clear that he took advantage of the young girl. By the end of As I Lay Dying, Dewey Dell appears to have accepted her sexual body and resigned her position of child. She has accepted the harsh realities of being an adult, particularly a female adult in the Bundren family. However, while Dewey Dell is enjoying bananas with Vardaman (Faulkner, 260), she appears to have reclaimed some childlike qualities. The task of becoming the...

Find Another Essay On death and unity in as i lay dying

As I Lay Dying Essay

1266 words - 5 pages William Faulkner’s portrayal of women, Addie Bundren specifically, in As I Lay Dying presents an interesting look into the gender politics of the south in the 1930s. Addie lies at the heart of the novel; yet despite being the heart, her presence for most of the story is as a corpse. Faulkner only gives her one chapter to explain herself; and it is her desire to be buried in Jefferson that sets in motion everything that happens in the novel

As I Lay Dying Essay

602 words - 2 pages and Vardaman and Dewey Dell," Anse says. "Meet Mrs. Bundren." Jewel looked up at Anse with contempt as Cash and the others just sat there not really saying much. Vardaman with banana pieces shoved in his mouth looked at me with a confused look on his face."My mother is a fish." I had to laugh watching Vardaman trying to shove those bananas down his throat. It was as if he had never had a banana before. By the looks of this family, I could see Addie

As I Lay Dying

654 words - 3 pages Addie’s death. Even Addie develops further like roots to the base before and after her death. That’s quite admirable to make the corpse of a character develop as the story continues. All the characters end up wanting something from their journey. The Choice one that chapter later in the book from Addie’s perspective after she is dead was one of the most interesting choices Faulkner made. At first it didn’t sit quite right, but so does some of the

Words and Images in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

3646 words - 15 pages and fantasies are the results of their unconscious desires. As some critics have noted, Addie Bundren is the emotional and psychological center of the novel. In "Spatial Form in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying," Betty Alldredge claims that "the presentation of Addie is not directly related to the action taking place in the narrative. . . . However, it is Addie who is at the root of the psychological problems in her children, and it is her death which

Techniques Used in As I Lay Dying

1633 words - 7 pages the river. In the end, nothing works out in anyone’s favor, except for Anse Bundren. Anse meets a new woman and decides to make her the new “Mrs. Bundren.” In As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner uses a “stream-of-consciousness,” multiple narrators, and symbolism to better enhance the book and to show the fragmentation of the south after the war. William Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897 and died on July 6, 1962. By being alive during this

secrets in faulkner's as i lay dying

792 words - 4 pages Yoknapatawpha County is a fictional county made up by William Faulkner in which As I Lay Dying takes place in; this is now the third novel to take place here. As I Lay Dying was one of the last novels written in the 1920’s by William Faulkner and within fifty-nine chapters, this novel features a unique narration of fifteen different first person narrators. Each chapter is written from that particular character’s perspective telling their version

Narration Style in As I Lay Dying

1529 words - 7 pages With most literature preceding the modernist movement, narration of stories was pretty straightforward; they were usually told by a main character or by the author as a third person- and that was that. However, as writing styles began to change, so did the style of narration. One of the most prominent examples of different narration is William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. In his novel, Faulkner reinvents the traditional expectation of having a

As I lay Dying Seminars

1954 words - 8 pages obviously really upset, and her death is affecting him. He chooses to act out in a highly violent and negative way, and blame her death on horses. I’m predicting that he may have a hard time through his life, since the readers are seeing the beginning of his negative reactions to things. He may have some mental damage, that may be hard to recover from.   Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York City: Vintage Books, 1990. Print As I Lay

Southern Influence in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

1706 words - 7 pages The novels of William Faulkner are amongst some of the most important books of the twentieth century. In 1949 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for all of his great works. Most of his novels were based on his own surroundings and where he grew up (Faulkner, william, 2009). In his novel, As I Lay Dying, Faulkner uses his own southern influence to create the setting, characters, and motifs to develop the narrative behind this poor

Symbolism in As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

815 words - 4 pages The use of a symbol has the potential to add depth and meaning to a work of literature. With symbols, a writer can convey a complex idea using a single world. When used in a work of literature, a symbol has the ability to express the characters of the work as a whole. In his novel As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner uses an enveloping symbol of Cash’s tools in order to underline the development of the characters throughout the novel. Cash’s

Central Themes in As I Lay Dying by Faulkner

792 words - 4 pages . Bundren. Completing the journey of burying Addie does not actually accomplish anything at all. Ironically, the end of the quest simply results in more misery for the Bundren family. Therefore, Faulkner uses irony and inversion throughout the novel to break the storyline and reveal reality as subjectivity. Therefore, he uses irony and inversion as significant themes to challenge the classical quest and invert everything to the opposite of what readers would consider normal. He collapses the hierarchy of a quest with a modernist way of thinking. Therefore irony and inversion mark the significant themes in As I Lay Dying.

Similar Essays

As I Lay Dying Essay

1221 words - 5 pages As I Lay Dying In "As I Lay Dying" William Faulkner uses multiple points of view to explore the theme of existence as a motionless and meaningless cycle. The cycle is motionless because it is inescapable and unchangeable. One can never leave the cycle of life and death. People perpetuate the cycle by creating life, but in creating life they are creating death, for life irrevocably leads to death. Faulkner depicts existence as meaningless

As I Lay Dying Essay

1045 words - 5 pages The novel As I Lay Dying written by William Faulkner poses many different reactions, emotions, and struggles in relation to Addie Bundren's death. This first person narration with fifteen different narrators takes the audience on the Bundren's journey across Mississippi in the smouldering summer heat. The emotional damages throughout this journey far outweigh the physical hardships of transporting a corpse forty miles to Jefferson by wagon

As I Lay Dying Essay 2116 Words

2116 words - 8 pages As I Lay Dying In reading the novel As I Lay Dying, many questions arose in my mind. However, the one that plagued me was the question that I could not pin down. All of the characters in the book have a personality and play a certain role in the tale. However, the one character who fascinated me, yet I could not explain was Cash. Is Cash a bigger player in the novel than it appears on the surface? I believe he is. Cash is the cog in the

As I Lay Dying Essay 1416 Words

1416 words - 6 pages As I Lay Dying By William Faulkner Literature is a great form of entertainment, unfortunately it is only entertaining when the author is skilled in using the proper literary devices and writing styles that capture our emotions, and make it enjoyable to read their books. This story was thoroughly disappointing. It had a lot of hidden plot, symbolism, and a confusing writing style. The overall story was not compelling enough to maintain