As I Lay Dying Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Study Guide

Original title:
As I Lay Dying
Published January 30th 1991 by Vintage (first published 1930)
Mississippi(United States)
United States of America
Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi(United States)
ISBN 067973225X (ISBN13: 9780679732259)

William Faulkner has earned himself a title of the frontman of the modern literature. Experimenting with different forms and literary maneuvers, he created new ways to deliver a message and not once managed to surprise the reader.

When writing “As I Lay Dying”, he invested a lot of thoughts and planning into making it clear and concise in form, yet deep and fascinating in meaning. He achieved that by removing himself as an author from the text completely.

The only narrators in the book are his fifteen characters that tell fifty-nine stories from their perspective. The characters are members of the Bundren family who each have their own preoccupations and views on what is going on around them. Their mother, Addie Bundren, is dying, one of the sons is making her a coffin in their yard, and once she passes away, they take off on a trip to the nearest town to bury her.

During the trip we find out numerous details of the family life and wrongdoings: Addie’s affair with a minister who is the father of her son Jewel, her daughter Dewey is pregnant from an affair with a local farmer and is trying to buy an abortion pill at every pharmacy they pass through, her son Darl burns down the barn they are spending the night at just to get rid of the stinking coffin...

By removing the author from the text it is not easy to clarify what exactly the character means, where he finds himself at the moment or what reasons might have caused him to do and say what he did. The field is completely open for the reader to speculate and interpret the stories.

Combined with the controversial geographical position of the stories – South of the United States – the book creates a vast number of possible interpretations. All of the sudden notions like death, family and marriage have a completely different perspective, when they are observed not from the side, but coming from the agent reliving them.

Those of you who know how to appreciate good modernism literature will surely fall in love with the book.

New Essays

As I Lay Dying Sample Essay

February 18, 2013 Duty is a Four Letter Word with a Three Character Meaning In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, the Bundrens sacrifice a great deal to lay Addie in her final resting place at Jefferson. They obediently follow her burial orders despite the hardships along the way because of...

Journals for as I Lay Dying

Journal 1: setting Most authors give small details throughout the novel of where and when a story takes place, and the reader must piece the bits together. As I lay dying is no exception and like any other book gives many examples of setting. First off you can tell that the story takes place many...

As I Lay Dying: Freudian Theories of the Bundren Family

William Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying in 1930, around the time when the theories of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, were gaining popularity. In his story about the death of a mother, Addie, and her family’s reaction and grieving process, Faulkner adheres to many of Freud’s theories on...

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Paragraph V: Evaluation But my mother is a fish. Vernon seen it. He was there. “Jewel’s mother is a horse,” Darl said. “Then mine can be a fish, can’t it, Darl? ” I said. Jewel is my brother. “Then mine will have to be a horse, too,” I said. “Why? ” Darl said. “If pa is your pa, why does your ma...

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