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As I Lay Dying


In Faulkner’s As I Lay Perishing, he utilized animals to signify characters. The Bundren kids are obsessed with animals throughout the novel. Vardaman is convinced that his mother is a fish, Darl states that Gem’s mother is a horse, and Dewey Dell relates to the farm cow as another female.

After each character learns of their mother’s death they each relate an animal to circumstances evident to their own lives. Varadaman sees Addie as a fish due to the fact that of the way that she has been transformed from conscious dead. Vardaman catches a fish on the day his mom dies and cuts it up and brings it inside to be cooked.

The blood of the fish is all over his clothes and on the exact same day Addie dies. Vardaman connects a fish with his mom and thinks her to be a fish. “Vardaman returns and picks up the fish. It slides out of his hands, smearing wet dirt onto him, and flops down, dirtying itself once again, gapmouthed, goggle-eyed, concealing into the dust like it repented of being dead, like it remained in a rush to return hid again,” (Faulkner, 31). In this section Vardaman relates his mom to being a fish. Vardaman utilizes the death of the fish to represent the death of his mother. Vardaman happens your home, bloody as a hog to his knees, which ere fish chopped up with the axe like it or not,” (Faulkner, 38). Vardaman later on comprehends the concept of death and how it relates back to his own being. Although he seems to be young, Vardaman begins to attribute his now dead mother to a now dead fish. “I can feel where the fish remained in the dust. It is cut up into pieces of not-fish now, not-blood on my hands and overalls,” (Faulkner, 53.) The fish sign is highlighted throughout the unique as being Vardaman’s mom. “My mom is a fish,” (Faulkner, 84).

Next, Faulkner uses the Bundren cow to symbolize Addie’s death, the bond between Dewel Dell and Vardaman. Dewey Dell is the character that relates most with the family cow. The cow much like Dewey Dell has something within them. The cow lows at the foot of the bluff. She nuzzles at me, snuffing, blowing her breath in a sweet, hot blast, through my dress, against my nakedness, groaning. ‘You got to wait a little while. Then I’ll tend to you,'” (Faulkner, 61). The milk inside the cows body is related to the baby growing within Dewey Dell.

The milk is symbolic of the important things inside her body. “The cow nuzzles at me moaning. ‘You’ll just have to wait. What you got in you aint absolutely nothing to what I got in me, even if you are a female too,'” (Faulkner, 63). Despite The Fact That Dewey Dell is pregnant now she finds that she has to be the maternal figure in your home. “‘You go on to your house and get your dinner.’ He draws back. I hold him. ‘You give up now. You leave me be,'” (Faulkner, 62). Jewel is unable to reveal feeling towards his mom, however he has no problem portraying it towards his horse, even though his ways may seem violent. Gem with dug heels, shutting off the horse’s wind with one hand, with the other patting the horse’s neck simply put strokes myriad and caressing, cursing the horse with profane ferocity,” (Faulkner, 12). Based on Darl’s word, the horse is a symbol of Gem’s love for his mother. For Gem, nevertheless, the horse, based upon his riding of it, obviously represents a hard-won flexibility from the Bundren family. Jewel is incredibly possessive and passionate about his horse. He had actually spent his nights tidying up a field in order to buy it with his own cash. Anse takes the horse and trades it for a group of mules to bring the caravan to Jefferson.

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