As I Lay Dying Essay

Topics: Novel, William Faulkner, Henry David Thoreau Pages: 4 (1246 words) Published: August 24, 2013
As I Lay Dying Essay

"Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but its the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it" (Faulkner 233). After the death of Addie Bundren, the Bundren family battles the forces of nature, their own selfish motives, and the critical judgement of their neighbors to fulfill the mother's dying wish to be buried in Jefferson. Although this eccentric behavior is viewed as insane and irrational, William Faulkner reveals throughout the novel the reasonability of their motives while creating a satire of the rural poor through the tragic events that occur.

Before Addie Bundren died, she makes her family promise to her that they will bury her in Jefferson, a town over 40 miles away. One could easily assume that the reason for this wish is due to her desire to be buried next her father, but this is not the case. Addie Bundren discusses how her father never shows his love or affection for her, and he tells her "the reason for living is to get ready to stay dead a long time" (Faulkner 169)". In Addie's rejection by her father, she feels lonely, and she attempts to fill this void through various actions and in violence rather than in words. Instead of having her family say a few words over her dead body, she wants them to take action in carrying out her final request. She states that "I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack" (Faulkner 172). She demands attention and wants people to recognize her presence not in words, but in their attention, awareness, and in their action. As Addie Bundren uses violence in her life to fill her void of loneliness, her family struggles violently to carry out her final wish. For example, on the first night of their journey, the main bridges leading over the local river have been flooded and...

Cited: Thoreau, Henry David, and Edwin Way Teale. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods,. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1946. Print.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: Random House, 1964. Print.
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