As I Lay Dying Essay examples

Submitted By ajbalch
Words: 842
Pages: 4

Death is a very prominent experience and basis of the title in William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying. There are many instances of “death” that occur during the hours leading up to and after the death of Addie Bundren, the matriarch of the family. After multiple readings of the book, the death of the institution of the family continued to resonate as a major death that occurred. This novel is structured to read as, I think, personal accounts from each of the characters and their insight into different happenings within the Bundren family. We learn from the first few pages that Addie, the mother, is dying and that many of the children seem to hope she dies soon so they can go to town and buy new things. Many of the wanted items are simple and unnecessary, but Dewey Dell Bundren, the only daughter, hopes to receive an abortion. She is only 17 and pregnant by a worker named Lafe. I see her pregnancy as a representation of the Bundren family. With this unborn child, she begins to eat away at her conscious when she realizes how this would affect her life if anyone were to find out. She wants this abortion soon to rid her conscious and body of the burden she carries. Addie’s death also has the same implications on the family as a whole. They are burdened by her vegetative state of being and they wish this journey would be over soon so they can move on and concern themselves otherwise. Dewey Dell’s pregnancy is putting stress on her and the family can sense it. It seems that with the death of the baby and Addie, everyone would be able to breath again and grow closer as a family. Because of the many complications Dewey Dell faces though, she still carries the weight and guilt of the situation she is in. The family continues to also be burdened by Addie’s death until the end of the novel when they successfully make it to Jefferson. I think both of these deaths and burials were drawn out, this took a toll on the Bundren family. Like Cash’s leg they continued to have to extinguish their problems and fire-like outbursts to think about the real reason they were on this journey. Because the Bundren’s set Cash’s leg in cement, his circulation is being cut off and his leg is turning black. The family dynamic and institution is similar because they seem very hostile toward each other. Jewel continues to go against the family decisions and Anse’s only goal is to get new false teeth. They seem very distant and not like a family unit. They fight about everything and don’t help each other when needed. This may be because while Addie was dying but alive, they did everything to shelter and preserve her, just like Cash’s leg. Criticism of town-folk also plays a role in diminishing the institution of the family. First Dewey Dell is taken advantage of when trying to receive an abortion. I think the store owner knew that because she lived in the country, she would be to naive to realize what was happening. This type of discrimination still exists today between