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As I Lay Dying Character Analysis

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As I Lay Dying Character Analysis

Velee Patel Ms. C. Fornini English IV, Period 5 28 April 2014 Faulkner’s Characterization of Dewey Dell in As I Lay Passing away William Faulkner’s diction, point of view, and syntax in his polyphonic book, As I Lay Perishing, tactically utilizes the badly downhearted yet juvenile voice of Dewey Dell to define her as the novel’s ignorant victim. The only making it through female in the Bundren family, Faulkner presents the hardships that Dewey Dell must endure. In addition, as an ignorant girl with no assistance, Dewey Dell experiences an unpredictability in numerous issues that occur in her life.

Dewey Dell’s diction in As I Lay Dying functions to unravel the novel’s deeper themes of suffering and selfishness. As she “bleeds silently”, Dewey Dell sustains the “dead air” on this “tub of guts” (Faulkner 58-63). Burdened with an illegitimate pregnancy after her rape, Dewey Dell grieves alone as she is separated in her regret and shame. She sees the world as a sickening visceral stack of guts, suggesting that death is her only relief, advancing the style of mortality. It is fascinating to note that Dewey Dell also describes her pregnancy as a “tub full of guts”, which mplies the undertone of birth as a miserable obligation, instead of a happy desire (Ross 305). As the unique progresses, “Dewey Dell” labors on past “New Hope”, drowning in “pain and misery” (Faulkner 121). The etymology of Dewey Dell’s name comes from dew, which signifies youth and how it swiftly evaporates, and dell, an ignorant, vagrant wench (Ross 307). In the efforts to bury Addie in Jefferson, Dewey Dell passes through New Hope Church, wishing an abortion. In fact, the Bundrens’ entire journey is a recurring theme functioning to provide the book’s theme of selfishness.

Though Dewey Dell explains the journey as a means of transporting Addie’s body through the countryside to Jefferson, it is actually a ploy to go to a Patel 2 drug store that can terminate her child, thus reducing her agony (Bassett 127). Faulkner’s diction is normally a mode to discover the book’s overall styles of suffering and selfishness. The point of view in As I Lay Dying functions to represent the book’s occasions through Dewey Dell’s special point of view. Feeling afraid and alone after recognizing she might be bring Lafe’s invalid kid, Dewey Dell panics, “I don’t know what it is.

I don’t know whether I am worrying or not. Whether I can or not. I don’t understand whether I can cry or not. I do not understand whether I have tried to or not. I feel like a damp seed wild in the hot blind earth” (Faulkner 64). The recurring very first person perspective develops Dewey Dell’s frenzied, unsteady emotion. In addition, the narrative of this passage symbolizes Dewey Dell’s childish character as it expresses her confusion over Addie’s death and her pregnancy. Faulkner defines her as a baffled youth, incapable of handling the concerns of life. The very first individual narrative is continued s Dewey Dell reaches her snapping point as she duplicates, “I believe in God, God, God. I believe in God” (122 ). Dewey Dell’s perspective here clearly represents the theme of mortality. To individuals like the Bundrens, life is a hopeless concern and death is a sweet relief. In Addition, Dewey Dell remembering God emphasizes her desperation in the book. Dewey Dell’s point of view characterizes her as a childish character who is likewise a victim throughout the novel. Dewey Dell’s syntax moves informally and inconsistently throughout As I Lay Dying, producing a very juvenile, taken advantage of voice.

Her first lines are loose and disconnected as they start expressing her sexual relations with Lafe, however then abruptly shift to Anse’s medical condition (Faulkner 26). These rapid shifts represent Dewey Dell’s unpredictably scattered thoughts and her ambivalence toward her pregnancy which trigger her to babble. Here, Faulkner identifies Dewey Dell as an ignorant lady, unable to communicate in a totally understandable way (Bassett 133). In addition, Faulkner employs the use of misspellings, such as “dassent” Patel 3 and “aint”, in Dewey Dell’s narration to represent the dialect of the uneducated, bad Mississippi farmers (Ross 300).

In addition, the repeated “and, and, and, and” structure later presents the reader to the other Bundrens in a childish method through Dewey Dell’s perspective. For Dewey Dell: “It’s like whatever worldwide … is inside a tub filled with guts, so that you question how there can be any space in it for anything else extremely important. He is a big tub of guts and I am a little tub of guts and if there is not any space for anything else essential in a huge tub of guts, how can it be space in a little tub of guts” (Faulkner 58). Faulkner makes use of these stringy sentences, packed with an overuse of combinations and repetitions, o illustrate Dewey Dell’s childish, droning voice. Nevertheless, her most striking repetition is, “I might not help it” (Faulkner 27). This brief sentence considerably stresses her role as a victim throughout the novel as Lafe deviously rapes her and leaves her with the burdens of an undesirable child. In addition, it is essential to note that a majority of Dewey Dell’s narrations continuously place “I” in the middle of her sentences, for example, “From the back deck, I can not see the barn” (59 ). In positioning the dependent stipulation in the beginning, Dewey Dell indicates little self- self-confidence and reduces herself.

This lack of confidence enhances the image of Dewey Dell as a victim in the book (Bassett 130). Overall, Faulkner characterizes Dewey Dell as a childish and naive victim of the suffering around her through her syntax in As I Lay Dying. In a miserably cynical yet juvenile tone, Faulkner ultimately identifies Dewey Dell as the book’s naive victim. Her diction works to represent the novel’s much deeper themes of human selfishness and the suffering sustained in life. Moreover, the first individual perspective develops a close relationship in between readers and Dewey Dell, as they can experience the rantically baffled emotions along with the book’s young heroine. Finally, the informal, inconsistent syntax presents Dewey Dell’s taken advantage of and childish persona. Works Cited Bassett, John Earl. “As I Lay Dying: Family Conflict and Verbal Fiction.” The Journal of Narrative Strategy. 11. 2 (1981 ): 125-134. JSTOR. Web. 27 April 2014. Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York City: Random House. Print. Patel 4 Ross, Stephen M. “‘Voice’ in Narrative Texts: The Example of As I Lay Perishing.” PMLA. 94. 2 (1979 ): 300-310. JSTOR. Web. 26 April 2014.

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