Symbolism in as I Lay Dying

Topics: Death, William Faulkner, Family Pages: 3 (1066 words) Published: January 27, 2011
As I Lay Dying Essay
In the novel As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner each chapter is written through a different character's perspective. The book follows the Bundren's family on their journey to fulfill Addie's dying wish. There were many motifs and themes throughout the book but one of the most important ones was the use of symbolism. Cash's tools and Anse's farm equipment symbolizing their stability becomes threatened from the carelessness of the Bundren's journey. The coffin stood the burden of dysfunction the Addie's death put on the family. There were also a couple instances where Faulkner used animals to symbolize emotions and as a comparison to a couple of the characters.

Cash was the eldest sibling in the Bundren's family, he was a carpenter and one that was very fond of his tools. The tools themselves represented Cash's true identity. If the tools were lost or not beside him he felt lost. Cash couldn't live without his tools, they were his solitary means of respresentation. When he's not safely with his tools he loses himself, his sanity, and consciousness goes out the door. The tools give Cash his sanity and security. He invests his time putting them to use rather than to mourn over his mother's death. In return of their beneficiary purpose he donates time to "(gather) his tools and (wipe) them on a cloth carefullt and (put) them into a box" (80). The other characters sees the security that his tools bring to him and they repect that. When Cash was injured and the tools were scattered along the river the whole family helps out and collects them. "Vernon got them (tools) and put them into the wagon. Dewey Dell lifted Cash's head so he could see them"(181). Darl observes the strong correlation between Cash and his tools as he watches Cash as he moves drags his body " where he could reach his hand and touch them when he felt better"(186). Cash's family is also a deep part of him, their happiness and security also keeps him sane, by collecting his...
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