The 's As I Lay Dying Essay

The 's As I Lay Dying Essay

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It is evident in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying that both of the Bundren women, in their own way, reject typical social norms for women in the south.
Firstly there is the common theme of maternity in As I Lay Dying, both Addie and Dewey Dell have to face motherhood, although neither is taken with the idea, Addie refers to to the children as “violating [her] aloneness”(172) while Dewey Dell repeatedly attempts to get an abortion throughout the novel. Motherhood would make life unmistakably harder for Dewey Dell, and Addie when given the chance, reflects upon how maternity changed her “when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible and that this was the answer to it”(171), but furthers her statement “I gave Anse the children. I did not ask for them.”(172). In Jill Bergman’s article for the Mississippi Quarterly: "’This Was The Answer To It ': Sexuality And Maternity In As I Lay Dying” Bergman lays out the idea that while both Addie and Dewey Dell view maternity as a potential oppressor, only Addie overtly fights, while Dewey Dell is more the passive observer of her own life. Bergman asserts that “Addie 's monologue offers a compelling argument for reading the novel in part as a protest against the containment of women 's sexuality through the threat of maternity” furthering her argument with the assertion that “the repetition of maternity entraps Addie, [...] Addie protests being defined by her body. In her monologue she struggles with the "natural" link between sexuality and childbearing which channels her actions in ways she finds oppressive.” Addie Bundren sees through words, and will not be bought by the appeal of nice sounding things.
However, this Addie’s “protest” is different from Dewey Dell’s reaction to mother...


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...e Whitfield, the minister with whom Addie had an affair with who never faces consequences for his actions. When he learns that Addie is dying, he sets out for the Bundren house; however, when he arrives and finds that she has already died, Whitfield changes his mind about confessing, choosing to remain silent about the affair since he is the only one who knows about it, and no one is ever the wiser (179). Even more despicable, are the actions of Lafe, the farm hand who impregnated Dewey Dell, whose consolation for Dewey Dell’s unwanted pregnancy is a handful of cash with which to get an abortion (200). Furthermore, Dewey Dell, in her haste to get an abortion so as to avoid the tragic symbolism of childbirth, ends up being taken advantage of by a young male nurse who promises her the drugs she wants and leads her down to the cellar where rape is heavily implied (248).

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