Free College Essays - Anse as a Vulture in As I Lay Dying

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Anse as a Vulture in As I Lay Dying

Human beings are commonly accepted as social creatures. They are considered evolved due to the fact that they were the first animals to develop a written language to help with communication. In the book, As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner compares the characters to less evolved species. The resemblance between the characters and their inanimate counterparts in nature is used in the book to show how inhuman they are in personality. Many birds are carnivorous, that is, they prey upon other animals for food. In this book, Faulkner uses the character of Anse Bundren to personify a vulture. Anse is compared to predatory birds in order to expose the similarities of the nature and behavior, of the human and the animal species.

Anse resembles a vulture when Addie first sees him. She describes him as a tall bird hunched in the cold weather (170). Anse is often depicted as having a humped, motionless, and cold silhouette (51-52). While he gazes at Addie lying in bed, he partakes an "owl-like quality of awry-feathered, disgruntled outrage within (49)." Anse is often unshaven, dirty, seeming dark and dreary. He is selfish and continually on the prowl, like a culture, for more money and extravagance.

The Latin meaning for the word "vulture" is the basic nature of these birds: breeze scavengers. Rarely flapping their large wings, vultures cruise by on air currents, searching for dead animals to eat. Anse grabs Addie's attention by driving past the school house watching Addie. He drives by, trying to catch a glimpse, almost stalking her, as a vulture would stalk its prey before attacking. Anse is not gentle and loving. He stands, stiff as a scarecrow, silent, and grotesque. His position evokes fear in others and makes them do what he desires. When Addie excepts Anse's proposal to marriage, he takes her from her home and place of birth, and brings her to his farm. Addie's life, from that point on, is harsh and ungratifying. It is when Addie is with Anse, that she realizes that her father's beliefs are true -- the purpose of life is to get ready to be dead.

Anse, like a vulture, is cool and calculating. As Addie is lying in bed, Anse sits on the front doorstep of the house waiting for her to die.

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