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Summary As I Lay Dying

Read & download ê As I Lay Dying 106 Ú As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie their wife and mother Narrated in turn by each of the family members including Addie herself as well as others; the novel ranges in mood from dark comedy to the deepest pathosThe family members including Addie herself as well as others; the novel ranges in mood from dark comedy to the deepest pathos Considered one of the most influential novels in Ameri. Once you get past the ungainly oddness and wild strangeness which assails you from every direction then you can see the weirdness which lies beyond The story and there is a very strong clear linear narrative here is wonderfully stupid A back country family in Mississippi in the 20s has their dear mama Addie Bundren up and die on them and the lazy ass sumbitch daddy thinks he then has to carry out her settled dying wish which very unreasonably was to get buried with her own kin 40 miles away in Jefferson This wouldn’t be so bad except it’s the height of summer and there’s just been bad rains and a flood so the bridges over the river are down The whole passel of them four sons one daughter one daddy two mules and one horse nevertheless trek off to do the right thing To say they encounter obstacles would be to say nought but the truth One such is that before very long Addie starts to decomp to which many passing strangers take exception So it’s kind of a comic tale but it ain’t told comically No sir No ma’am The guides will say the same thing about this short but dense like a black hole novel As I Lay Dying is written as a series of stream of consciousness monologues in which the characters’ thoughts are presented in all their uncensored chaos without the organizing presence of an objective narrator That’s from the online Spark Notes Fair enough except that it’s just completely not true All the short chapters are headed up with a character name and it kind of naturally seems as if that character is narrating but a only occasionally could you call anything in this book stream of consciousness and even then it’s nothing at all like our old beloved friends Virginia Woolf or James Joyce because these interior monologues come at you in perfectly formed and mostly graceful sentences; and b The chapters obey no consistent rules or they change the rules all the time which is the same thing so that in the middle of a paragraph it is suddenly the author’s omniscient voice popping up And another thing what Faulkner does all the time is bend the credibility of the characters’ voices until they break Here’s two examples of purely natural monologue Because be durn if there ain’t something about a durn fellow like Anse that seems to make a man have to help him even when he knows he’ll be wanting to kick himself the next minuteAnd Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that a way It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it But here’s an example of Faulkner’s own voice breaking in The narrator here is Vardaman aged around ten I can cry uiet now feeling and hearing my tears It is dark I can hear wood silence I know them But not living sounds not even him It is as though the dark were resolving him out of his integrity into an unrelated scattering of componentsThe last sentence is not Vardaman It’s Faulkner Here’s the daughter Dewey Dell – her usual mode is like this About his head the print of his hat sweated into his hair His shirt is blotched with sweat He has not washed his hands and arms But then The cow breathes upon my hips and back her breath warm sweet stertorous moaning even my spellcheck does not know stertorous much less an uneducated 17 year old country girl So what is Faulkner doing here Messing with us readers I thinkAnd now here’s Darl one of the sons Now as this family is the purely uneducated rural poor how is it one of their sons the one who narrates about half of the book thinks in this lushly textured poetic and highly intellectual language He looks up at the gaunt face framed by the window in the twilight It is a composite picture of all time since he was a child For a while still she looks down at him from the composite picture neither with censure nor approbation Then she flings herself across Addie Bundren’s knees clutching her shaking her with the furious strength of the young before sprawling suddenly across the handful of rotten bones that Addie Bundren left jarring the whole bed into a chattering sibilance of mattress shucks her arms outflung and the fan in one hand still beating with expiring breath into the uiltShe looks down at the face It is like a casting of fading bronze upon the pillow the hands alone still with any semblance of life a curled gnarled inertness; a spent yet alert uality from which weariness exhaustion travail has not yet departed as though they doubted even yet the actuality of rest guarding with horned and penurious alertness the cessation which they know cannot last Check out these examples of Darl’s vocabulary We go on with a motion so soporific so dreamlike as to be uninferant of progress as though time and not space were decreasing between us and it How do our lives ravel out into the no wind no sound the weary gestures wearily recapitulantA cubistic bugStarkly re accruentDon’t sound like no poor white trash I ever came acrost dunt know about you Sounds like Marcel damn Proust than Hank Williams Shoot sounds like this William Faulkner hisself talkin Seems he didn’t want to write no normal book but one a them whatchacallem modernist efforts but like he jes couldnt hep hisself had to git that thar poetic jawbreakin stuff in there someways n so turned one a his ole country boys into some kinda god damn genius It doesn’t really work a few pages of Darl and my suspension of disbelief came crashing down and really bruised my left shoulder I can still feel it now And there’s another thing about old Darl He freuently launches off into Deep Space like this I don’t know what I am I don’t know if I am or not Jewel knows he is because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is and he is what he is not I had to look round and ask here who let Samuel Beckett in hereEven so and also taking into consideration a couple of apparent plot holes in the rather too neat O Henryish ending how did bumbling Anse fix up all that in such a short space of time I still loved the bravery and confidence of this novel It ramified my brain and there is hardly any higher praise It was great 45 stars

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As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie their wife and mother Narrated in turn by each of. I've been working up to a William Faulkner book for years His books always appear on lists of best books of all time and books you should read before you die But when I've felt in the mood for a classic or something literary I've always passed him up for other authors even those with 1000 page monsters I think deep down I always sensed Faulkner just wasn't for meThe first problem is my lack of enthusiasm for stream of consciousness narratives If I'm being honest I rarely like it I don't mind working at a book if it's hard going but this style of narration makes it difficult for me personally to ever settle into the rhythm of the book And Faulkner takes it to a whole new level He drops us into scenes and scenarios without any explanation; I genuinely felt like Faulkner wanted to deliberately confuse his readers about characters and ideas he could have easily portrayed in a accessible way Confusion for confusion's sakeHonestly I can think of little boring than suffering through every thought feeling and instinct that passes through the human mind I have my own mind that plagues me with this randomness; I don't need to read it in someone else's perspective I want an author to organize language into a structure that is interesting compelling thought provoking and stream of consciousness for me is rarely any of those thingsBut that's just my tastes for the style Trying to take a step away from that a second and view what the novel did as a whole I can't say I enjoyed the story Nor do I tend to enjoy books with than two or three perspectives and this one had fifteen In less than three hundred pagesThe plot follows the Bundren family after the death of their matriarch Addie Fifteen perspectives tell the story of the family's journey to Jefferson where Addie is to be buried Hauling a wagon with Addie's decomposing body the Bundren family sets out on a nine day journey of freuent hunger and discomfort Faulkner includes important themes in his work such as religion poverty and identity in the Southern United States but I still feel like other authors have done this in a palatable way I would much rather read Steinbeck any dayOne reviewer said this of Faulkner's style and I couldn't agree It is easy to be confusing It is easy to write something beautiful and understandable for yourself It's hard to write universal words which we can all connect So so trueBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

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As I Lay DyingCan fiction in structure style and drama As I Lay Dying is a true 20th century classic This edition reproduces the corrected text of As I Lay Dying as established in 1985 by Noel Po. Many of us slogged through this unofficial My First Faulkner in high school and probably all any of us remember from it is Vardaman's line My mother is a fish which our teachers used to teach us about Foreshadowing For many of us this would be My Last Faulkner too because we learned mostly that Faulkner is a fucking pain in the ass At least it's less confusing than The Sound The Fury although that's sortof like saying a given animal is less dangerous than a bear strapped to a shark okay but there's a long way between that and safeFaulkner is a pain in the ass because he was a modernist one of the Three Great Modernists along with Woolf and Joyce and modernism is when you jumble up your timelines and perspectives and generally just obfuscate everything so it's about all a body can do to figure out what the plot even is and while all three of these authors are great in that they know what they're doing and they're memorable and they're telling great truths they are also massive pains in your ass and should basically not be read by most peopleBut you can or less follow most of the plot in this book and here's what it is this shambling backwoods family of future Trump voters sets off to bury the matriarch on her family land and they fuck it all up The plot has the grinding inevitability of great tragedy but the events have an obstinately small scale; it's just these idiots trying to get a coffin across a riverHere are the characters Addie Bundren the one who dies; Anse her lazy good for nothing husband who looks like a figure carved clumsily from tough wood by a drunken caricaturist a description that Cormac McCarthy would build basically his entire career on; Cash the carpenter eldest son who never finishes a sentence even in his head; Darl who for some reason doubles as an omniscient narrator the most articulate of the group considered ueer for that very reason remember that scene in Idiocracy where the dude gets diagnosed with talking like a fag and constantly babbling about is and was like a college kid getting stoned for the third time; Jewel the horse obsessed son whose eyes are constantly described like pieces of a broken plate which no they aren't that's simply not what eyes are like; Dewey Dell the sole daughter whose wet dress shapes for the blind eyes of three blind men those mammalian ludicrosities which are the horizons and the valleys of the earth in the single worst description of breasts ever perpetrated to paper; Vardaman of the fish who is off in some vague way Faulkner has never been particularly specific about his medical diagnoses Benjy from Sound The Fury is also non diagnosably off; he might be autistic who knows Vardaman is either in his early teens and off my position or around 8 and less off There's conflicting evidenceFaulkner sortof recycles some of his characters from Sound the Fury written just a year earlier in 1929 Benjy and Vardaman are both fucked in the head; Dewey Dell and Caddy are the underdressed daughters; Darl and uentin are the time obsessed poets They also share a setting Faulkner's famous and made up Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi Mississippi might be real how would I know Sound the Fury didn't sell well and Faulkner aimed deliberately to write a tour de force a surefire winner which or less worked out He claims to have written it in six weeks and one draftThere are a few other characters most notably the functional neighbors Vernon and Cora Tull Everybody takes turns narrating; each has a distinct voice but all of them use words they couldn't possibly have any excuse to know Here's young Vardaman's description of a horse It is as though the dark were resolving him out of his integrity into an unrelated scattering of components snuffings and stampings smells of cooling flesh and ammoniac hair an uncoordinated whole of splotched hide and strong bones within which detached and secret and familiar an is different from my is Faulkner's not even trying to make anyone talk realistically He's about something I guess lending epic weight to lifesize events and I even kinda like it but it's still basically ridiculousI'm making fun of Faulkner a lot which is easy and fun to do because he's a jackass but I like this book The river crossing is genuinely exciting Faulkner's kinda funny in sortof a check out this sentence I'm about to get away with fuck all of you way not as funny as his fellow Southern Gothic Flannery O'Connor but who is The book overall walks a line between complicated and understandable and for once Faulkner stays on the right side of itOver the course of the book most of the family have their own stories to play out It's surprising and neat; new dimensions keep unfolding We learn that Jewel view spoileris illegitimate by Rev Whitfield this is the most obfuscated plot development hide spoiler