“As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner

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As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner


In the novel ‘As I Lay Dying’, William Faulkner uses multiple voices as well as perspectives in a series of reputational monologues from fifteen characters. These figures include seven Bundren narrators and eight outside narrators. Several Bundren members are used to represent the emotional attachment to their mother, Addie Bundren, after her death through the intensity of their reactions, the emotionality in the responses, and the relation to the tragic event. On the other hand, Faulkner uses the outside narrators in a twist of the objectivity, illustrating the elaborate elements of prejudices as well as biased. Poverty, religion, and community or personal beliefs are essential aspects of life as Faulkner expresses. Critical analysis proves that although the characters show distinct results from Addie’s death, the personal perceptions and beliefs towards life experiences are responsible for molding the future human characteristics.
The story begins with the illness of Addie, her soon death, and the burial, which opens Jefferson’s journey. The journey provokes thoughts within the character’s, which paves the way for a critical analysis of the themes that Faulkner portrayed. One of the topics is poverty and the associated economic status. The Bundrens were sick enough, but their debt empowered them in a way that they forgot the insults from neighbors, continuing to depend on them for assistance (Faulkner 32). The family lives a miserable life that they try to hide the pain of losing their mother and continue with life. The poverty is so painful to the children, making the sons go looking for money and forgetting to participate in mourning their mother’s death. Instead, they extend their business to the graveyard while buying false teeth through trickery and the like. Carl Marx observes that inequality in a society results in some members being poor. Thus, the Bundrens are not exceptional (Megill 45).
Faulkner brings about the thought of self-identity and beliefs as he uses both Darl and Vardaman. There are fluctuations like identity as Vardaman cannot distinguish between “being ‘is’ and being ‘was’” (Faulkner 145). The writer repeatedly said that Darl is my brother while his mother is a fish. He has a feeling of progressive identity and identifies a new relationship with others. Contrary, Darl cannot see the completion of character. His mother’s death completely alienates him from himself and others. This behavior leads to madness and isolation. Emotional attachments and beliefs have affected the stability of the family, as well as the like-minded characters (Megill 217).
The motives of the writer, Faulkner, indicate the sense of simplistic Christian beliefs. The characters show alienation from one another, as well as from God. There is little or no understanding of religion. This aspect of the themes is intensely illustrated by Whitefield, the preacher, and who commits adultery and presents a model of religious disbelief. Similarly, Cora Tull, who was a former pastor, has her gods being the pocket (Faulkner 234). The preachers have the role to play in maintaining religion, but instead, mock it in the name of servants of God. From Marx’s conception, the society is free to believe in themselves and the conditions of the life they are living (Megill 154).
Values of humanity have been illustrated by the tension between the words used by the characters and their thoughts. Faulkner expresses the insufficiency of using language to show how one means or intend to communicate. The instance of Addie and the emotions are not well demonstrated by the words because the conversations are brief, hesitant, and are not directly related to what the characters feel at that time. For instance, Tull and the local men use cash in their talks about his leg at the date of the burial (Faulkner 71). There are two separate conversations, one in a regular typing while the other is in italics but is richer in content. In contrast, Carl Marx observes that the use of a particular language directly reflects the thoughts in the minds of the speaker (Megill 163).
Poverty, social and personal belief, and religion are the most important ideologies portrayed by Faulkner in his novel, ‘As I Lay Dying.’ The death of Addie results in a mixture of reactions from the Bundren’s family as well as the community. The poverty in the household leads to sharp ends of the children, especially regarding their religious and personal perceptions. However, the philosophers such as Carl Marx express personal attribute to social and economic values in a different version. The experiences of a man must correspond to the social settings and modify the behaviors as well as characters. The physical body is just an image, and the natural inertia or necessity gives rise to an ideological being. Therefore, the body is an instrument of the inner perception and beliefs.

Work cited
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.
Megill, Allan. Karl Marx: The Burden of Reason (why Marx Rejected Politics and the Market). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Print.

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“As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/as-i-lay-dying-by-william-faulkner

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