As I Lay Dying

Subjectivitiy in As I Lay Dying

One of the central thematic elements of As I Lay Dying is the distinction between fact and interpretation of fact. Clearly, any objective fact can result in a multitude of subjective interpretations because the characters all have individual points of view. Their perspectives of any empirical truth depends upon their prejudices and perceptions; as a result, nothing that is said can be fully trusted or assumed to be pure in its objective truth. Though the novel is structured on the basis of the fact that each character experiences the same events, they all differ in their interpretations and perspectives. Since each character possesses a point of view that the reader cannot know for sure is entirely accurate and truthful, the theme of As I Lay Dying may be that there is no such thing as objective truth.

To raise this question of reality, William Faulkner introduces two literary techniques in As I Lay Dying that draw into question the validity of the information being provided. Faulkner not only engages in the use of a wide variety of narrators, but he also utilizes stream-of-consciousness to heighten the inability to distinguish between fact and interpretation. The technique of stream-of-consciousness allows for narration to...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 721 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4145 literature essays, 1393 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.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in