As I Lay Dying

The Relativism of Reality in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

"It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it," (Faulkner, 233). In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, an obvious discrepancy exists between death and birth and between words and thoughts that ultimately changes the way events are perceived. Peabody articulates that death does not take any one form but rather takes different forms based on different perspectives. He says, "I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind," (44). This forms the philosophy that seemingly concrete events like birth, death and the life in between are not absolute at all. Rather emotions shape them into unique events which vary from person to person. Through the insights of his characters Faulkner also seems to suggest that words do not mean the same thing to everyone. Rather each person's unique perceptions give different meaning to the same words. This is another way in which reality, in this case the reality of language, varies. Ultimately, through multiple contradictions, through the primacy of the individual and through a divergence from expected emotional...

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