As I Lay Dying

Morality of Actions in As I Lay Dying 11th Grade

William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is a novel about a family that travels to Jefferson, a town in Mississippi, to fulfill the wish of their deceased mother to be buried there. The long journey reveals the true character and motives of each family member. Along the way, several members commit selfless acts and reveal their altruistic side, while others carry out selfish acts triggered by their purely personal motives. Faulkner’s style and storytelling are quite insightful and often makes the reader contemplate the true character of each family member.

In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, he portrays characters guided by actions to benefit themselves, to benefit others, and actions with unknown causes or justifications. Arguably the most selfish character in the novel is Anse, the father of the Bundren family and wife of Addie. Anse comes off as an unintelligent, greedy, and uncaring character throughout the journey. Anse is more concerned with bothering his kids and what they are doing rather than spending time comforting his wife during her last minutes. Anse utilizes Addie’s wish to travel to Jefferson to fulfill a motive of his own: to purchase a new set of teeth. During the journey, Anse mentions his new teeth several times,...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 849 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6397 literature essays, 1755 sample college application essays, 259 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in