Analysis of as I Lay Dying by Faulkner

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As I Lay Dying by Faulkner is a strange work with a changing perspective that can leave the reader confused, and a story that can leave a reader with an uneasy feeling. In the action of the novel, Jewel risks his life to save his mother’s casket, the Bundren family is forced to sell almost all of their possessions, and the family “works together” to eventually bury their mother in Jefferson. The Bundren family is dysfunctional at times because of broken relationships between the children and deeply imbedded psychological issues, but the root of this dysfunction is terrible parentage.\ Before Addie is introduced, Faulkner describes her coffin being assembled. Like Tull’s wagon and Cash’s adze, the item Faulkner uses to introduce a character often defines what said characters role may be in the story. In Addie’s case, her role in the plot is to die. It is not her death though that sparks the action in the novel, but rather her dying wish, to be buried in her hometown of Jefferson. Addie Bundren’s death marks the beginning of this novel, and with her heath comes her dying wish to be buried in her hometown of Jefferson. In summary the story might seem a family’s selfless trip to bury their mother, but the truth is far from it. Of the five children; Darl, Dewey Dell, Jewel, Cash and Vardaman and the father Anse only Jewel and Darl have no other motives. The two may be the only to have genuine love for their mother, but Jewel most of all. Because of fierce devotion to his mother Jewel risks his own life more than once to save his mother’s casket. This causes a rift between the two half-brothers. At one point in the novel the family is faced with crossing a flooded bridge. Darl believed Jewel should take a rope across the river to pull the family’s wagon across, but instead Jewel carried across Addie’s casket. The divide between them in this anecdote is represented by a log barreling down the river, taking the family’s wagon with it. Afterwards the family spends the...
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