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
3 April 2013
Research paper: As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” is a story about the Bundren family trying to complete the goal of burying their recently departed mother, Addie. Throughout the story the family undergoes many obstacles to complete the goal of burying Addie in Jefferson. It is from this action that shows how important Addie is to her family. In the story, the children show their love for their mother through many different ways….
ENG 362: American Lit
March 18, 2014
The novel As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner took place in a rural area in Mississippi during the 1920s. The Bundren family were living in poverty and it was difficult to earn a living off the land because the river that kept over flooding. Social classes were a big motif in this novel; the family was so poor that they depended on their neighbors who were wealthier farmers.
Darl Bundren is the protagonist,….
February 27, 13
English 1102: 10:00 10:50
Reading Response #2
The novel As I Lay Dying, is a story about a family with conflicting agendas are leaving town to grant their mother’s wishes to be buried in Jefferson. Suggesting that each character is motivated by greed, the author, William Faulkner tells the story in a way reveals that ulterior motives of each character as they embark on journey. Which sheds light on the selfish perspective of the world in which even the….
Discussion Reflection 3
The discussion the group and I had was about deciding whether or not Darl from the book As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner was Insane. Justin did not think Darl was insane. and I disagreed with his thinking. We believe that Darl did go insane, and his actions prove it. Darl Put his mother’s dead body into their barn and burned it down with the farm animals inside the barn.
Justin stated, “Darl is not….
After the relationship between Addie and the rest of her family has been established, the next problem lies in Darl's relationship to the Bundren family, and especially their attitudes toward him. Darl is always elusive, complicated, thought-provoking, poetic in stream-of-consciousness observations, and especially observant of details. It is through Darl's eyes and observations that the reader gets a full perspective of the other characters.
Darl is the only character in the book who lives on several….
and As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner, explore the motif of motherhood and a mother’s love. At their cores, Beloved and As I Lay Dying are stories about mothers and their children. Published in 1987, Morrison’s Beloved tells a heart-wrenching story of the everlasting effects of slavery in America by centering around the relationship between Sethe, an escaped slave, and the daughter….
Faulkner in his book "As I Lay Dying" portrays a Mississippi family which goes through many hardships and struggles. Faulkner uses imagery to illustrate an array of central themes such as the conscious being or existence and poverty among many others. From the first monologue, you will find and indulgence of sensual appeal, they are a strong aspect through out the novel. Each character develops stronger and stronger by their passages. One of the themes in As I Lay Dying is a Human's relations to….
Yes, I would definitely recommend this book as a classroom study. Even though my classmates of this generation would hate me because the book is indeed hard to read and understand, I believe that it contains important ideas and literary structure that can teach young generations to think in a new and creative way.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner is an important book for student’s to read in their literature classes because of Faulkner’s interesting narrative techniques. This use of experimental….
English 3 IB
29 October 2014
Word Count: 593
Existentialism in As I Lay Dying
Existentialism, a philosophical movement that started in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, focuses on the connection between consciousness and existence. Its basic assumption is that reality is recreated for each moment a human being is aware; there is no real connection between the past and the present. In As I Lay Dying, characters like Addie Bundren grapple with questions and fears about being….
What does Cash’s list of the 13 reasons for beveling the edges of the coffin tell us about him?
In the novel As I Lay Dying, Cash has to build a coffin for his dying mother. He decides to bevel the edges, and he makes a list of thirteen reasons for doing so. This action tells a lot about his personality.
By making this list, it is made apparent that Cash is a practical person who likes order. Only an organized person would make a list-and an extensive one at that- of reasons why he is doing….