As I Lay Dying

The Anomaly of Moseley

The single chapter in As I Lay Dying where Moseley becomes the narrative focalizer, is anomalous because the focalizer is a character that had not yet been mentioned, and is never mentioned again. The general pattern in the novel is that each focalizer is either a recurring character, or is mentioned for the first time in the last sentences of one chapter, and then becomes the narrative focalizer in the next. In the last sentence of one early Darl chapter, Darl says that "When Peabody comes, they will have to use the rope" (40). The reader has not heard the name Peabody yet, and as if to answer the question of Peabody's identity, in the next chapter Peabody is the focalizer (41-46). It is as if we are introduced to somebody at a party, and then are allowed to have a conversation with them. Being introduced to them in the previous chapter is important in giving the reader some understanding of where the character fits in. The sentence "when Peabody comes . . ." certainly does not give us too much information, but at least we know he is somebody the family knows, who is coming to help them out. In a similar way, Darl, and Dewey Dell, and Jewel are all introduced into the novel. Moseley, by contrast, is...

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