As I Lay Dying

Am I Your Mother? 12th Grade

For human beings, life inherently exists with a void, which people look to fill through indulging in various constructs set up and measured by society. Some invest themselves in money, some absolve themselves with religion, and still others utilize vanity as an impetus for survival. In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, the central character of Addie Bundren is consumed by her void, the story of her struggle acting as the primary plot line of the novel, despite the fact that most of what is revealed about her is done so posthumously, as she is dead for most of the novel. Addie’s vice is not of dollars, deities, or demeanor, but rather, people. She repeatedly attempts to establish connections with others throughout her lifetime, most notably seen through her children. Yet, while she gives birth to them and acts as their caretaker throughout their formative years, she fails to create meaningful relationships in a way that brings her any sense of long term gratification. Faulkner’s work highlights the differences between the biological and social definitions of what is means to be a mother. Addie realizes one, but does not fully understand the other, heightening her feelings of depression and isolation to the eleventh hour of...

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