The Influence, And Independence Of Addie Bundren.
Although she lived in physical bondage to her husband, Addie Bundren, the nexus of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” not only found a way snap the mental tether of a patriarchal system, but also instilled an innate, and underlying rebelliousness toward that system, in her three eldest sons. Through her denial of the structure, and meaning of a male imposed vocabulary, Addie internally condemns a system that has mentally enslaved her. This condemnation is permeated externally to Cash, Darl and Jewel, through her ability to communicate with them, without speech. This paper will examine instances in which Addie’s overall influence, and general attitude toward the patriarchy can be observed in her, and her sons. Addie’s external servitude to her husband, Anse, is an uncanny disguise, worn to mask her internal struggle with the expectations and requisite role of the southern woman, in her time. Existing support for this perspective can be found in Marc Hewson’s article “ ‘My Children Were Of Me Alone’: Maternal Influence in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” Hewson views Addie as a rebellious figure. A woman who discovers freedom from the imprisonment of the female spirit by the restrictive patriarchal code of the era through motherhood, and an internal consciousness locked far away from the persecution she would face if expressed. Furthermore, Hewson explains, Addie’s differing relationships with her sons, although flawed, have developed in them, that same rebelliousness toward Anse, who is the novel’s ultimate representation of the patriarch. A similar perspective of Addie’s underlying denial of her patriarchal imprisonment can be found in “Conflict of the feminine in ‘As I Lay Dying,’ by William Faulkner”, an article by Devin Mckernan. Mirroring Hewson’s perspective, Mckernan sees Addie as a woman suffocated by social expectations, with
Cited: Hewson, Mar. "My children were of me alone: Maternal influence in Faulkner 's As I Lay Dying." Mississippi Quarterly. 53:4, Fall 2000, p.551-567. Mckernan, Dev. “Conflict of the feminine in As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner.” Helium. May 2007, p.1-12. Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print.