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This Is A Character Analysis On Addie Bundren In William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying."

1493 words - 6 pages

As I Lay Dying and DecomposingWilliam Faulkner is one of the most published major American authors in the twentieth century. He uses many literary techniques that often times disorient the reader, but that is what makes his writing so unique. As I Lay Dying is a literary work with many voices and Faulkner's style seems to vary according to whichever character is narrating the section in his fifty-nine-section novel. The major technique that Faulkner uses in many of the sections is called "stream of consciousness." This is when the author writes as though he is inside the mind of the characters. Since a normal person's mind can jump from one event to the next, stream of consciousness tries to capture this idea (Cliffnotes.com). In many ways "As I Lay Dying" is a novel about language, speech and interpersonal communication, and in this paper I will show how Addie Bundren's soliloquy reflects upon that.This story details a journey in which the Bundren family embarks on to bury the matriarch of their family, Addie. Addie wants to be buried in the family plot in the town of Jefferson. Each of the family members have their own reasons and motives for the journey but they agree to go on the adventure nonetheless. The first problem we must decipher is the reason why Addie insists that Anse promise to take her back to Jefferson. From the very beginning of her life, Addie feels that she has been neglected and that her father was unaware of her presence. He did not seem to notice her nor care for her. Moreover, early in Addie's section she tells us of her abhorrence towards her students, "I would go down the hill to the spring where I could be quiet and hate them" (Faulkner169). Addie hates being a schoolteacher and feels lonely around her students with "dirty snuffling" noses. She loved when they made mistakes because it gave her a reason to whip them. "Now you are aware of me! Now I am something in your secret and selfish life, who have marked your blood with my own for ever and ever" (Faulkner 170). Here we see how Addie physically makes her presence known to her students by whipping them. She wants to let it be known that she is a person, not just someone taking up space.Then when she marries Anse, she feels that she failed to make her presence on him or her children. She is honest with the reader and says that her family was not filled with an abundance of love. So she makes it her business to assert her presence in the family and in the world. "Then I realized that I had been tricked by words older than Anse or love, and that the same word tricked Anse too, and that my revenge would be that he would never know I was taking revenge" (Faulkner 172). So this difficult journey to Jefferson is Addie's last chance at forcing her presence on everyone, especially Anse. He would not know that this was a type of revenge for Addie, even if she is not living, she will be able to rest peacefully knowing she died for a reason. Even though this request to be buried...

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