The Role of a Mother in As I Lay Dying Written by William Faulkner Essay

The Role of a Mother in As I Lay Dying Written by William Faulkner Essay

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Many mothers, regardless of age or situation, share sympathetic life ideals. They all share the common goal of raising their children wholesome; they want to create an environment of love, nurture, and support for their children as well. A mother’s effort to implant good values in her children is perpetual; they remain optimistic and hope that their children would eventually become prosperous. However, some women were not fit to be mothers. Thus, two different roles of a mother are portrayed in As I Lay Dying written by William Faulkner. Faulkner uses the literary technique of first person narrative with alternating perspectives. By doing so, Faulkner adds authenticity and the ability to relate (for some) to the two characters Addie Bundren and Cora Tull. The first person narrative acts as an important literary technique because it allows the reader to experience the opposing views of Addie and Cora; they are both mothers who act as foils to each other because of their diverse opinions and outlooks on motherhood, religion and life.
The title of the novel—As I Lay Dying—suggests that there is a first-person speaker, which seemingly suggests that it is the voice of Addie Bundren, the dead mother. However, Addie only actually communicates in the first person once in the novel and besides the few beginning chapters, “she is dead, not dying” (Ross 305). As I Lay Dying was divided into fifty-nine sections and written in first person narrative with fifteen different viewpoints (Ross 300). Since there are fifteen different viewpoints, the point of view then shifts between each different narrator. Each narrator has a “unique, personal interpretation and reaction to the events of the novel” (Ross 301). The tone varies from narrator to narra...


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Gault, Cinda. "The Two Addies: Maternity and Language in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women." American Review of Canadian Studies 36.3 (2006): 440. Academic One File. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.

Palumbo, Donald. "The Concept of God in Faulkner's "Light in August," "The Sound and the Fury," "As I Lay Dying" and "Absalom, Absalom!"" The South Central Bulletin 39.4 (1979): 142-46. JSTOR. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

Pierce, Constance. "Being, Knowing, and Saying in the "Addie" Section of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying." Twentieth Century Literature 26.3 (1980): 294-305. JSTOR. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

Ross, Steven M. ""Voice" in Narrative Texts: The Example of As I Lay Dying." PMLA94.2 (1979): 300-10. JSTOR. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

Slaughter, Carolyn N. "As I Lay Dying: Demise of Vision." American Literature 61.1 (1989): 16-30. JSTOR. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.

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