As I Lay Dying Essay: The Characters

As I Lay Dying Essay: The Characters

Length: 1402 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Characters in As I Lay Dying


The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail. (excerpt-Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech)



    Analyzing character in a Faulkner novel is like trying to reach the bottom of a bottomless pit because Faulkner's characters often lack ration, speak in telegraphed stream-of-consciousness, and rarely if ever lend themselves to ready analysis.  This is particularly true in As I Lay Dying, a novel of a fragmented and dysfunctional family told through fragmented chapters.  Each character reveals their perspective in different chapters, but the perspectives are true to life in that though they all reveal information about the Bundren family and their struggles to exist they are all limited by the perspective of the character providing the revelations.  The story centers on the death of the mother of the Bundren clan, Addie, whose imminent death creates fragmentation and chaos in the Bundren family because Anse, Addie's husband, has promised to travel to Jefferson to bury her with her family.  Floods, fires, injuries and poor decisions mar the journey, but the family endures and Anse brings home a new Mrs. Bundren.  However, Anse, often read as the most selfish Bundren is the only one prepared to go on with life and accept Addie's death. 

 

Others in the family are not so ready to accept the displacement of their mother so readily.  Among them, Vardaman and Dewey Dell are often portrayed as the least individualized characters in the Bundren family.  Someone once suggests he is a "frightened, perhaps deranged child" and she is a "female vegetable."  These suggestions might be a bit extreme, but defin...


... middle of paper ...


...ner  57).  Vardaman, on the other hand, is even younger than Dewey Dell and seems less able to cope with reality.  However, he does see Darl set fire to the Gillespie's barn and trusts Dewey Dell enough to reveal this to her.  She tells him never to repeat it.  However, Vardaman will be disappointed in the journey as will Dewey Dell.  Only Anse gets what he wants.  Vardaman's train is not in the store window and Dewey Dell is tricked by another man, the pharmacist, into providing sexual favors.  Both are victims of their genetics and their environment, which, at their age, does leave them the least individualized characters in the novel. 

 

WORKS  CITED

 

 

 

Faulkner, W.  As I Lay Dying.  Vintage Books, New York, 1957.

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying"

- In As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner uses the characters Anse and Cash, and a motif/symbol in "My mother is a fish," to reveal the psychological and societal problems of the twenties and thirties. Written as soon as the panic surrounding the stock market in 1929 started, Faulkner is reported as having, “took one of these [onion] sheets, unscrewed the cap from his fountain pen, and wrote at the top in blue ink, 'As I Lay Dying.' Then he underlined it twice and wrote the date in the upper right-hand corner"(Atkinson 15) We must take care to recognize Faulkner not as a man of apathy, but one of great compassion and indignation at the collapse of the economic foundation of the U.S....   [tags: Essay on As I Lay Dying]

Powerful Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about As I Lay Dying : Anse Bundren

- As I Lay Dying : Anse Bundren Anse Bundren is one of the most exceptional characters in “As I Lay Dying”. He was the husband of Addie Bunden. In the Story, he portrayed himself as being a very selfish individual. During his journey to the burial site of his wife, he always was worrying about his well being before the family’s well being. The only reason that he decided to carry out Addie’s wish was that he wanted to improve his image by getting false teeth. He did care for his wife, but this caring was overshadowed by his love to improve himself....   [tags: As I Lay Dying]

Free Essays
407 words (1.2 pages)

Alienation in As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner Essay

- William Faulkner is an American novelist whose major work is As I Lay Dying. Faulkner gave each of his characters traits that are expressed throughout the story.  The reader is introduced to each character through their detailed and descriptive character traits.  We are able to delve into the character's mind and see their personal and distinct traits. He did not tell us anything about the characters, but he takes us into the mind of each character to analyze what we see there. Even though these characters lead parallel lives we can see the total alienation and breakdown of the relationships between each other.  Darl, Jewel, and Anse possess character traits that contribute to or cause the b...   [tags: As I Lay Dying Essays]

Powerful Essays
1733 words (5 pages)

William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying Essay

- “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” ― William Faulkner In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, characterization, specifically through the multitude of narrators, transforms an otherwise pedestrian plot into a complex pilgrimage to the truth. As I Lay Dying is told from the perspective of fifteen different characters in 59 chapters (Tuck 35). Nearly half (7) of the characters from whose perspective the story is narrated are members of the same family, the Bundrens. The other characters are onlookers of the Bundrens’ journey to bury their mother, Addie....   [tags: As I Lay Dying 2014]

Powerful Essays
2408 words (6.9 pages)

Essay Character Analysis of Dewey Dell Bundren in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

- William Faulkner, a Nobel Prize winning author, wrote the novel "As I Lay Dying" in six weeks without changing a word. Considering the story's intricate plot, not changing a single word seems like it would take a literary genius to complete. Many people agree that Faulkner could very well be a genius due to the organization of this story. Faulkner uses fifteen different characters to narrate and allow the reader to analyze each of their point of views. Through the confessions of each character, the reader is able to form his or her opinion about different characters and issues....   [tags: As I Lay Dying Essays]

Powerful Essays
1081 words (3.1 pages)

Word Meaning in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying Essay

- Word Meaning in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying Throughout Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying, a prominent difference between the characters Anse and Addie appears in his/her contrasting depiction of word meaning. According to the mother, Addie, words are bad and do not signify their designated meaning. In comparison, her husband, Anse, continually stresses and believes in his spoken promise or word to bury Addie in Jefferson. Incidentally, the juxtaposition between the two character’s theories of word meaning emphasizes an alternative comical view toward the burial of Addie....   [tags: Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying]

Powerful Essays
571 words (1.6 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: As I Lay Dying Essays]

Free Essays
743 words (2.1 pages)

Truth Revealed in As I Lay Dying Essay

- Truth Revealed in As I Lay Dying     Addie Bundren conjures up the central darkness derived from her death and directly or indirectly causes actions in which each Bundren character takes advantage of Addie. With the character's actions revolving around her death, William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying reveals the truth about the people who surround a person may take advantage of him or her.  The death of Addie Bundren shapes all of the character's actions in life including Addie's final request before her death.  Addie takes advantage of her death by using it for revenge and inflicting final pains upon some characters, while the other characters use her to get what they want for their persona...   [tags: As I Lay Dying Essays]

Free Essays
1326 words (3.8 pages)

Essay about William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

- William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying      In his book, As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner pioneers new and interesting literary forms. His most obvious deviation from traditional novel writing was the new style of narration in which he used all the main characters as the narrator at one point or another. This allowed the reader to gain insight into the character’s thoughts, and also to prove very interesting and entertaining. Faulkner also ignores all boundaries that sane people have placed upon the English language to keep it readable....   [tags: Lay Dying Faulkner Essays]

Powerful Essays
986 words (2.8 pages)

The Themes of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying Essay

- 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....   [tags: As I Lay Dying Essays]

Powerful Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)