As I Lay Dying as a Mock Epic
Topics: Hero, Epic poetry / Pages: 3 (876 words) / Published: Mar 3rd, 2015

Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying as a Mock Epic The title of William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying comes from Homer’s Odyssey when Agamemnon says to Odysseus, “As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eye would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades." Considering the fact that Faulkner used such a recognizable allusion as the title of his novel, it is logical to think that he wanted readers to consider his novel as an epic story. Faulkner’s text shares many of the same elements as famous epics, including a quest that is central to the plot, allowing dead characters to speak, and having characters encounter numerous obstacles along their journey. However, upon close examination of the text, it becomes apparent that As I Lay Dying is much more of a mock epic that plays with the conventions and expectations of the traditional epic story, including the idea of a noble quest and the epic hero. Similar to the epic journey the protagonist Odysseus embarks on in the Odyssey, the Bundren’s set out on their own quest to bury the matriarch of the Bundren family, Addie, at a grave sight forty miles away. This journey is a direct result of Addie’s final wish to be buried in Jefferson, Mississippi. Considering that Addie’s family tries to honor her final wish, the Bundren’s journey to Jefferson seems motivated by noble, even heroic intentions. But Faulkner plays with this idea of heroism by questioning its meaning in relation to the Bundren clan. Many of the characters have their own selfish motivations for bringing Addie to her requested burial site. Anse Bundren wants a new set of teeth, “God’s will be done. Now I can get them teeth,” Cash wants to buy a graphophone, Vardaman wants to see a toy train, and Dewey Dell wants to abort an unwanted pregnancy (30).
Even Addie herself weakens the honorable notion of the Bundren’s quest when she attacks the idea of family in her chapter. She states her feelings toward her own family, which consist of resentment and regret. She says

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • As I Lay Dying
  • as i lay dying
  • As I Lay Dying
  • as i lay dying
  • As I Lay Dying
  • As I Lay Dying Analysis
  • The Thems of as I Lay Dying
  • I Lay Dying Reflection
  • As I Lay Dying Essay
  • As I Lay Dying 5