Faulkner's As I Lay Dying: Techniques Used

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Journal 1: setting
Most authors give small details throughout the novel of where and when a story takes place, and the reader must piece the bits together. As I lay dying is no exception and like any other book gives many examples of setting. First off you can tell that the story takes place many years ago through simple statements given throughout the novel. For example, when it says that all of the women inside of the house had to use fans to cool themselves it suggests that air conditioning was not around yet, therefore it was an earlier time. (Page 81) Also throughout the entire beginning of the novel Cash’s only tools for building Addie’s coffin are a saw and hammer, there is no mention of any newer power tools. Then when Anse is talking to some of the other men about transporting Addie’s coffin a character mentions that the bridge was built back when his first child was born in 1988. (83) Also on page 83 when the flooding of said bridge is noted someone comments on how they had to float their horses across the water to get to Anse’s house. This shows that the novel took place many years ago in the late 1800’s when people relied on horses to get around. Also whenever anyone mentions transportation they talk about their wagons aka: They travel in wagons because cars do not exist yet. The final piece of evidence which shows the story took place some time back is when Cash is finally finishing Addie’s coffin at night in the pouring rain and he has to use a lantern to see in the dark. (Page 57) It shows that this novel took place before flashlights were around because Cash had to give up his raincoat to keep the lantern dry and lit whereas if this had taken place at a more current time he would have used a flashlight and kept himself dry. The time frame which this story takes place stays consist but the place changes as the novel progresses. In the beginning we learn that the Bundruns house sits alone right in front of a road (page 35) Then later when doctor Peabody comes to visit we learn that they live atop a mountain (page 41) Another thing noted is that the Bundruns own a good amount of property for their limited funds and they own their own barn house as well. (Page 38).Later the story takes place on the road as the Bundruns make their way towards Jefferson. One of the many examples of this is on page 156 when Anse mentions the slippery dirt road and the difficulties it might pose for the remainder of their travel. Journal 2 and 3: mother is a fish tools=cash Addie=coffin Anse unable to smooth blankets page 51 jewl's mother is a horse and is what was 95 The fish plays a symbolic role in helping Vardaman understand death. “It was not her because it was laying right yonder in the dirt. And now it’s all chopped up. I chopped it up. It’s laying in the kitchen in the bleeding pan, waiting to be cooked and ate. Then it wasn’t and she was, and now it is and she wasn’t” (66-67). This was Vardaman's childlike explanation for his mother’s death. This quote conveys how the fish was a fish lying in the dirt, now it is no longer a fish because it no longer has a body. Similarly when Addie is laid to rest in her coffin her body will be no more. By his mother dying if “Cash nails the box up”, his mother will no longer be his mother (66).Addie “was” a fish rather than “is” a fish. The fish symbolizes Addie’s death to Vardaman in a sense that physical being conveys existence. Throughout the beginning sections of the novel, Cash has always been described as sawing or hammering. The tools eventually start to represent Cash himself. In fact before anyone even see’s Cash the sawing and the hammering of his tools are heard first. Cash is very stable and persistent just like his tools. While Cash was constructing the coffin with his tools even when it began to rain, Cash continued to work. “Cash works on…dynamic immobility above his tireless elbow…It begins to rain…in an instant Cash is wet to the skin. Yet the motion of the saw has not...
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