As I Lay Dying

As They Say, “Lying” 11th Grade

In William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying, the dysfunctional Bundren family embarks on a telling journey from their farm in Yoknapatawpha County to bury their recently deceased and unmatronly matriarch, Addie. Composed of 59 sections narrated by 15 different people, Faulkner’s novel is a display of man’s primal selfishness told through many different streams of consciousness that more often than not reveal contradictory information. By utilizing this technique and deliberately withholding meaning from the reader, Faulkner constantly develops his story and comments on society’s obsession with absolute truths while, also, forcing the reader to become more active.

From the novel’s beginning, Faulkner establishes that the reader will not have things explained for them in an orderly way and must synthesize, on their own, what is presented. Darl, the first narrator, opens the tale with an account of a strange procession where he “turns and follows the path which circles the house” while Jewel, who has been given no background information either, “looking straight ahead, steps in a single stride through the window” with the “rigid gravity of a cigar store Indian dressed in patched overalls” (4). The scene seems ritualistic but, at...

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