As I Lay Dying
Shifting Sanity in As I Lay Dying
One of William Faulkner's most celebrated qualities is his inventiveness. As I Lay Dying has fifteen unique narrators, one of them a dead woman, and the novel avoids traditional ideas of linear and chronological structure. Faulkner's style demands that his readers are aware of his multi-faceted process of seeing a story: if he tells the events in four or five different ways, it is because he knows the reader can imagine twenty. The evolution of Faulkner's stories grows past the creation process and into the fabric of the novels themselves. In As I Lay Dying, each character's interpretation of the events represents a different facet of grief, sorrow, confusion, and countless other emotions. As each individual character shifts from actor to narrator, his or her description of an event becomes just as important as the action. Several examples described here serve to illustrate this characteristic of the novel.
First, in the eighteenth section Cash lists thirteen reasons why he constructed the coffin on the bevel. While some of his reasons are justifications of why the bevel is better, other lines seem to have very little significance. They are all important, however. The beginning lines are mostly related to...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 725 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4184 literature essays, 1403 sample college application essays, 171 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.
Already a member? Log in