As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

January 9, 2011
By jasminesturr BRONZE, Whittier, California
jasminesturr BRONZE, Whittier, California
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As I Lay Dying

Death affects everyone in different ways. When we lose someone that we love, some of us internalize our emotions, and we all have different methods of coping. William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying is a fiction work about a family who loses their wife and mother, Addie Bundren. It explores how each of the characters deals with the loss. As you get farther into the story, you begin to see that each of the characters has their own selfish schemes that revolve around Addie’s death. The book looks deeply into the personalities of each of the characters and shows their faults and feelings through their actions. Each of the characters in the book has their own motivations and reasons for their actions. They each express their feelings over the situation in their own way, which is a major theme throughout the book. I did enjoy reading about the different characters and their personalities, however, I found the book hard to follow and it is a very difficult read.

The book is read in a total of fifty-nine sections, each narrated by a different character in the story. The narrators are the family, the neighbors, and one section is narrated Addie Bundren, the dying mother and wife of the family, after she has already passed away. The story starts by showing the reader that Addie is on her death bed. Her husband Anse and their children Cash, Darl, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman are all preparing for her death. Before her death, Addie had Anse promise her that he would take her body to be buried in Jefferson City, which is forty miles away from their family farm. The family decides to make the journey to the city and it is revealed during the journey that each of the characters has their own motives for keeping this promise. You start to see the faults in each of the characters personality traits when their motives for taking Addie’s body to Jefferson are revealed. Their journey ends with some interesting details that give the reader suspense and excitement.
The book has a very good plotline, but it is very hard to follow. The story takes place in the south, so it is hard to understand the way some of the characters speak. It also focuses a great deal on the symbolism of the events that take place, so while reading it you have to be alert of this usage. While it is hard to understand, the story is very memorable because of the events which take place. One of the major reoccurring themes in this book is the motivation of each character to make the journey to Jefferson City. Through the actions of the characters in this book, it is apparent that the author believes that people do things for their own selfish reasons. For example, the father, Anse, only kept his promise to his late wife so that he could purchase a set of false teeth in the city. In this book, Faulkner is making a statement about the corruption of most people in our society. I do not agree with him in that everyone has ulterior motives for their actions. However, I do think that some people do have ulterior motives, and this book is a fair representation of those people who do. This book has not changed my opinions on this issue, but I do feel that it has shown me just how far that people will go to get what they want. Each member of the family goes through great extremes to accomplish their desires, and this novel makes the evil and destructiveness of this behavior apparent. It has definitely shown me that I should not let my own desires take over my life and stop me from doing what is right.
The novel As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner is a challenging read that explores the personality faults of the characters. By doing this, Faulkner shows that people will go to great lengths to get what they want. If you are considering reading this book, be sure to look for symbolism and the personality traits of the characters to avoid getting confused. Overall, it is a good book and I would recommend reading it if you are up for a challenge.

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