The Themes Of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

1067 words - 4 pages

William Faulkner in his book "As I Lay Dying" portrays a Mississippi family which goes through many hardships and struggles.  Faulkner uses imagery to illustrate an array of central themes such as the conscious being or existence and poverty among many others. From the first monologue, you will find and indulgence of sensual appeal, they are a strong aspect through out the novel.  Each character develops stronger and stronger by their passages.   One of the themes in As I Lay Dying is a Human's relations to nature, Faulkner uses imagery in the sense that he relates some the character to animals.  

One of the central themes in As I lay dying is the attachment to nature.  Darl  in this passage relates "the still surface of the water a round orifice in nothingness, where before I stirred it awake with the dipper I could see maybe a star or tow in the bucket, and maybe in the dipper a star or two before I drank."(p.455)  His physical necessities are being met, this is a central theme in As I lay Dying, meeting your needs, survival, through out all the tragedies that occur.  But here Faulkner shows that there is some progress, due to Darl finding a way to enhance the experience of drinking plain old water by drinking it out of a wooden bucket.  The wooden bucket enriches the flavor of water, and connects you to nature through taste.  Darl has found a better way to satisfy his needs.

 

William Faulkner overwhelms his audience with the visual perceptions that the characters experience, making the reader feel utterly attached to nature and using imagery how a human out of despair can make accusations. "If I jump off the porch I will be where the fish was, and it all cut up into a not-fish now.  I can hear the bed and her face and them and I can feel the floor shake when he walks on it that came and did it.  That came and did it when she was still right but he came and did it." (p.468) Here Faulkner makes a direct correlation in Vardaman's perception and his longing to be with his mother, and giving fault to her death by Dr. Peabody's heavy weight.  He hears the "foot steps" and he can "feel the floor shake", Faulkner is appealing to our senses, Faulkner engages our senses us directly to show us Vardaman's thoughts.  Varadaman comes to the conclusion that his mother is a fish, and the imagery that Faulkner portrays, allows Vardaman's thought process easier for us to comprehend. 

 

The character of Anse is often portrayed by a Vulture, Faulkner describes Anse's actions characteristics similar in relation to that of a Vultures.  Imagery is used to make a physical and mental parallel between Anse and Vultures. "We watch them, in little tall back circles of not-moving. "Yesterday there were just four," I say.  There were more than four on the barn."(p.512) "Pa leans above the bed in the...

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