Analysis Of “As I Lay Dying” By William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

The entire novel “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner is filled with great heroic efforts but at the same time is someway seems absurd at times. Anse, the father of the family and the laziest person should have been the provider but unfortunately he was exactly the opposite. He had a mentality of a rich man without any riches or wealth. He is a poor farmer with a hunchback and he’s selfish too. His wife Anse Bundren had five children, Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman. Her death triggers the novel’s action. She is a former school teacher whose bitter life causes her to take unfortunate actions. She loved and invested all her love in her favorite child, Jewel, instead of family and God.

The Bundern family is on to burring Addie. Jewel is very close to be considered as a hero. He was not traveling for any other motive except burying his mother. He also sacrifices his horse, which was very close to his heart, for the wagon team. Even if he did not know anything he had a more personal reason to bury his mother Addie away from the farm. In the middle of the whole mission they defeat water and fire to Jefferson where Addie has to be buried. There steps on this complications seems heroic although they come to a point where the consequence of the family’s action are foolish enough. The Burdrens’ looking to find a new way of crossing the flooded river at the beginning seems fine until it turns to be over dramatic.

Example to this would be the part where, a log approaches them and Cash makes a dash for the coffin while hurting his leg. This seemed to be a heroic action of Cash sacrificing his leg and his life too for his mother. Whereas Darl also says that his jumping from the wagon to save his life is also somehow saving their family’s future. Though according to me this action doesn’t seem to be heroic at all, instead it is somewhat disrespectful and selfish towards his dead mother. But at the same time if we take things in a different way than this Darl’s action could be considered as heroic as he already knew that his mother was dead and it was just her body with them now, so he tried protecting his family’s future giving it more priority. Addie is more of a “villain” than a hero of the story (which may seem obvious, but when we were first reading — before her chapter — I thought for sure that she would be proven compassionate, hardworking, etc. ), and the heroism of Anse is questionable. It’s interesting to look at Addie as the anti-hero.

At first I saw her as a hero before I really got to know her, as she had to deal with the many woes of being a Bundren. I pitied her position, and felt for her. The way in which those around her treat her after her death (preparing to take a long journey to Jefferson to bury her) seems like a heartfelt move, which made me feel like Addie cared about the poor, misfortunate Bundrens. I really like that Faulkner didn’t give in regarding “hero” stuff. Anse and Addie are people, not elevated by a happy ending for the kids or a heroic twist. It starts in the middle of one episode with Addie, and ends in the middle of another with the new Mrs. Bundren. I think the story (especially the ending) is very original. I think Cash comes the closest to a hero. He’s much more compassionate than he was at the start of the story, though I agree with you that Jewel is “arguably” a hero as well.

Furthermore, adding Jewels heroic action into account I find that breaking the ice by submerging his horse and himself into the river which was tremendously dangerous. Jewel here does the most heroic action. He proves to sacrifice himself along with his beloved thing that he owns just to make sure that his mother’s coffin crosses the river safely. He is sort of a main character of the entire operation. The brothers somehow attempts to keep themselves united while crossing the treacherous river, but they eventually began to panic and got off the track by forgetting what their actual goal was. At the end of the novel the Bundrens are at the Gillespie farm, and the barn catches fire and once again it seems like an idiotic commotion.

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