William Faulkner’s As I Lay Perishing is an unique about a household that takes a trip to Jefferson, a town in Mississippi, to satisfy the wish of their deceased mom to be buried there. The long journey exposes the true character and motives of each member of the family. Along the way, several members commit selfless acts and reveal their altruistic side, while others carry out self-centered acts activated by their purely individual motives. Faulkner’s design and storytelling are rather informative and frequently makes the reader contemplate the true character of each member of the family.
In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Perishing, he represents characters assisted by actions to benefit themselves, to benefit others, and actions with unidentified causes or justifications. Probably the most self-centered character in the novel is Anse, the father of the Bundren family and wife of Addie. Anse comes off as an unintelligent, greedy, and uncaring character throughout the journey. Anse is more concerned with bothering his kids and what they are doing instead of hanging out soothing his wife throughout her last minutes. Anse uses Addie’s desire to take a trip to Jefferson to fulfill an intention of his own: to buy a brand-new set of teeth. Throughout the journey, Anse discusses his new teeth a number of times, and reveals indifference that his better half just died and they are going to bury her. “But I durn if He do not take some curious methods to show it, appears like. And now I can get them teeth. That will be a comfort. It will.” (Faulker 111) When Cash, one of Anse’s children, breaks his leg, Anse is too low-cost to employ a physician so he puts cement on his leg to form a cast. Anse also takes Money’s cash when he was unconscious from the discomfort of his injury. Furthermore, he requires another one of his children, Gem, to sell his beloved horse to spend for the families’ travel, since Anse is too broke and persistent to get a job.
Along with Anse, Dewey Dell, the only female kid, commits a number of actions to benefit only herself. Dewey’s intention is to buy “something” to repair her abortion down in Jefferson. She likewise stops working to reveal love towards her mom and household, focusing her efforts on this motive. Dewey dislikes taking blame for her actions, and does not even recognize her own pregnancy as her own fault. When she encounters the druggist in Jefferson, he tells her that if she has sex with him he will provide her something to stop her abortion. She voluntarily accepts the deal, while her more youthful bro Vardaman waits outside for her. At the very end of the unique, when her bro Darl is the only individual to know of her pregnancy, she attacks him in order to ultimately send him to a psychological institution. “Dewey Dell preoccupies herself as soon as again with thoughts of her possible pregnancy, referring to herself as a “little tub of guts.” (Massacre)
Addie Bundren, the mom and figure whom the book is centered around, also comes off as a self-indulgent character. Addie’s life is filled with sadness and loneliness, and she feels that having kids is generally going to give indicating to her. However, Gem and Dewey Dell are the only two of her kids that she appreciates and have actually offered her happiness. “She looks at pa; all her stopping working life appears to drain pipes into her eyes, urgent, irremediable. It’s Jewel she wants.” (Faulkner 47) The rest she considers to be failures and worthless births. “And I understood that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible which this was the response to it.” (Faulker 171) Although Addie passes away, she tells several chapters and even admits that Anse was “dead to her” although they were still married for 10 years. Through both her actions and declarations, we see that Addie is a completely egocentric and depressed mom, and also a bad partner.
Despite the selfish characters and actions in the novel, there are numerous who likewise display generous dedication to their household. To start with, Money can unquestionably be thought about the most virtuous character in the entire book. (Padgett) At the start of As I Lay Dying, he is constructing a coffin for his mother out in the rain while the rest of his household is inside. Along the trip, he shows empathy for his mother and his family, specifically little bro Vardaman. He is continuously comforting and discussing the families’ circumstance to him, particularly what Addie’s death means. When the household is crossing a river, the wagon falls and the coffin drifts away. Money manages to save it while re-breaking his leg in the process. He suffers incredible discomfort and his household makes him a makeshift erupt of cement as an attempt to help, although later on he needs to get the leg amputated due to infection. Throughout the entire journey, even in the most tough and painful times, he stays quiet and never ever grumbles. His primary focus is constantly on his mom’s dream and the good of the household. Money is an incredibly selfless character, as shown by his actions and mindset in the book.
Another character who show selflessness is Darl. Darl comes off as something of a misfit in the household, and tends to have a completely different mindset and thought process. He is smart and gets along well with others for the a lot of part, but at times his odd mindset and engaging ultimately chooses his fate. (Faulker’s) He is extremely devoted along the journey and shows his commitment to his household and mother. While the household is remaining at a barn, Darl chooses to burn it down in an attempt to bury his mother there. Darl thinks that is the best for her at the time, and is really doing it out of his love for her. The coffin is rescued and his plan stops working. Later, the town’s authorities arrest him and his sibling attacks him for his understanding of her pregnancy. Darl understood about her pregnancy the whole time and told no one, yet his sis still assaulted him at the end.
Together with Money and Darl, Jewel likewise shows his love and selflessness throughout the novel. Gem remains peaceful throughout much of the unique, much unlike his bro Darl. We see Jewel’s real character when he sells his precious horse for his mom’s burial. His daddy is too low-cost to work or get the cash, and Gem sacrifices a large part of himself for his mom. He likewise safeguards Addie’s coffin along the method and guarantees its safety to Jefferson. Jewel in addition seeks of love and regard for Money’s tools that had actually fallen in the river. (Dudek) There was no real requirement to, however Jewel understood they were important to Money and wanted to make his sibling pleased. Later, Jewel thinks that a man has insulted his family, and he practically begins a fight to defend them. Gem’s actions of bravery and selflessness show his true excellent character throughout the journey. In addition to the many self-indulgent or selfless actions in the story, there are several characters whose real intentions are unidentified or tough to discover. An excellent example of this is Vardaman. Vardaman is a confused and misdirected young kid whose specific age is not provided. Vardaman’s inability to comprehend is proved in two main actions during the journey. First, he drills holes in his mother’s coffin to attempt to allow her to breathe. Vardaman does not understand the principle of death. Next, he catches a fish and pictures that his passing away mother is the fish. (Padgett) He chops the fish up the next day, and believes that is his dead mom. “It is cut up into pieces of not-fish now, not-blood on my hands and overalls. Then it wasn’t so. It hadn’t happened then. And now she is getting up until now ahead I can not catch her.” (Faulkner 53) Along the journey, Vardaman is a baffled and misdirected boy with unknown reasons behind his reasoning and actions.
Other family members likewise have unidentified factors for their actions. Jewel is the most quiet of the household, and for the first half of the unique he hardly talks at all. We know that he adores his horse, however besides that we know little bit at all. “It’s since I am alone. If I might simply feel it, it would be various, because I would not be alone. However if I were alone, everyone would know it.” (Faulkner 59) Darl comes off as an extremely strange and different character. He tends to think differently from the remainder of the household, and they do not quite comprehend why he does what he does. (Fargnoli) For instance, his burning of the burn was completely unjustified and his household thought he was insane. In addition to the household, other members in the book likewise devote actions for unknown reasons. Cora Tull, a next-door neighbor, helps Addie during her final days and comforts her instead of her family sometimes, regardless of the fact that she Addie’s life and the method she acts. (Flower) While Addie is passing away, Whitfield frantically went to her bed and asked Anse to be forgiven. He wished to describe to Anse about his and Addie’s affair and pray to God in front of him. He does this for a completely unnecessary and unexplained reason, and hopes that Addie hasn’t currently told Anse their secret. There are several characters in the novel, besides the primary family, that dedicate actions for unidentified or secret factors.
In conclusion, William Faulkner shows self-centered actions, selfless actions, and actions committed for unknown reasons to explain the true intentions and nature of private characters in the novel. The unique focuses on Addie’s death desire, nevertheless even she lived a life full of lies and isolation. Money, Jewel, and Darl are among those who reveal their love for others through their actions. Other characters, such as the greedy Anse, show the self-centered side of their personality through their motives for the journey. Numerous supporting characters likewise devote actions for unidentified and unneeded reasons such as Cora Tull and Whitfield. As I Lay Passing away provides a fantastic summary of the principles of greediness and unselfishness, while demonstrating how these principles can truly impact individuals’ lives.
“As I Lay Dying”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 09 May. 2016
“As I Lay Perishing: Essay Q&A.” Novelguide. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2016. Flower, Harold. ed. William Faulkner: Modern Crucial View. New York: Chelsea Street, 1986.
Dudek, HanaRae. “Household in As I Lay Dying.” McClinton-Temple, Jennifer ed. Encyclopedia of Styles in Literature. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2011. Blossom’s Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 11 Apr. 2016 Fargnoli, Nicholas A., Michael Golay, and Robert W. Hamblin. “As I Lay Passing away.” Crucial Companion to William Faulkner: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Crucial Companion. New York City: Realities On File, Inc., 2008. Bloom’s Literature. Truths On File, Inc. Web. 11 Apr. 2016 Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Guernsey, UK: Vintage, 1996.
“Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying: Kind of a Funeral|EDSITEment.” Faulkner’s As I Lay Perishing: Type of a Funeral|EDSITEment. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2016.
Padgett, John B. “As I Lay Passing away.” In Anderson, George P., Judith S. Baughman, Matthew J. Bruccoli, and Carl Rollyson, eds. Encyclopedia of American Literature: Into the Modern: 1896– 1945, Revised Edition, vol. 3. New York: Truths On File, Inc., 2008. Blossom’s Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 11 Apr. 2016
Slaughter, Carolyn Norman. “As I Lay Perishing: Death of Vision.” American Literature 61.1 (1989 ): 16. Web.