My Account

As I Lay Dying

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 663 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is a novel about how the conflicting agendas
within a family tear it apart. Every member of the family is to a degree
responsible for what goes wrong, but none more than Anse. Anse's laziness and
selfishness are the underlying factors to every disaster in the book.

As the critic Andre Bleikasten agrees, "there is scarcely a character in
Faulkner so loaded with faults and vices" (84).

At twenty-two Anse becomes sick from working in the sun after which he refuses
to work claiming he will die if he ever breaks a sweat again. Anse becomes lazy,
and turns Addie into a baby factory in order to have children to do all the work.
Addie is inbittered by this, and is never the same. Anse is begrudging of
everything. Even the cost of a doctor for his dying wife seems money better
spent on false teeth to him. "I never sent for you" Anse says "I take you to
witness I never sent for you" (37) he repeats trying to avoid a doctor's fee.

Before she dies Addie requests to be buried in Jefferson. When she does, Anse
appears obsessed with burying her there. Even after Addie had been dead over a
week, and all of the bridges to Jefferson are washed out, he is still determined
to get to Jefferson.

Is Anse sincere in wanting to fulfill his promise to Addie, or is he driven by
another motive? Anse plays "to perfection the role of the grief-stricken
widower" (Bleikasten 84) while secretly thinking only of getting another wife
and false teeth in Jefferson. When it becomes necessary to drive the wagon
across the river, he proves himself to be undeniably lazy as he makes Cash,
Jewel, and Darl drive the wagon across while he walks over the bridge, a

Anse is also stubborn; he could have borrowed a team of mules from Mr. Armstid,
but he insists that Addie would not have wanted it that way. In truth though
Anse uses this to justify trading Jewel's horse for the mules to spare himself
the expense. Numerous times in the book he justifies his actions by an
interpretation of Addie's will.

Anse not only trades Jewel's horse without asking, but he also steals Cash's
money. Later on he lies to his family saying that he spent his savings and
Cash's money in the trade. "I thought him and Anse never traded," Armstid said.
"Sho," they did "All they liked was the horse" Eustace a farmhand of Mr. Snopes
said. Anse steels Cash's money and towards the end of the book he also takes ten
dollars from Dewey Dell.

The ending of the book is best explained by the words of Irving Howe. "When they
reach town, the putrescent corpse is buried, the daughter fails in her effort to
get an abortion, one son is badly injured, another has gone mad, and at the very
end, in a stroke of harsh comedy, the father suddenly remarries" (138).

With money he has begrudged, stolen, and talked his way out of paying, he
finally buys some new teeth and a new wife for the price of a graphophone. What
defies explanation is why Anse is so cold-hearted and indifferent to his
children? What has changed him from the hard working twenty-two year old man he
once was.

In conclusion, by thinking only of himself Anse destroys his family. He is
selfish whenever his need's conflict with those of his family. His motives for
cheating and lying range from the greed of money to self pity. Instead of what
can I do for them Anse will always be the one thinking what can they do for me.

Works Cited

Bleikasten, Andre. Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

Bloomington/London: Indiana University Press, 1973.

Howe, Irving. William Faulkner: A Critical Study.

Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975.

William, Faulkner. As I Lay Dying.

New York: Random House, 1985.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"As I Lay Dying." 07 Dec 2016

Related Searches

Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.

Return to