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As I Lay Dying Character Analysis


As I Lay Passing Away 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, viewpoint, and syntax in his polyphonic book, As I Lay Perishing, tactically uses the miserably cynical yet juvenile voice of Dewey Dell to identify her as the book’s naive victim. The only making it through female in the Bundren household, Faulkner presents the difficulties that Dewey Dell need to sustain. In addition, as an uneducated woman with no guidance, Dewey Dell experiences an unpredictability in numerous problems that arise in her life.

Dewey Dell’s diction in As I Lay Dying functions to unravel the novel’s much deeper themes of suffering and selfishness. As she “bleeds silently”, Dewey Dell withstands the “dead air” on this “tub of guts” (Faulkner 58-63). Strained with an invalid pregnancy after her rape, Dewey Dell grieves alone as she is separated in her regret and shame. She views the world as a sickening visceral pile of guts, suggesting that death is her only relief, advancing the style of mortality. It is fascinating to keep in mind that Dewey Dell also explains her pregnancy as a “tub full of guts”, which mplies the connotation of birth as an unpleasant commitment, rather than a cheerful desire (Ross 305). As the novel progresses, “Dewey Dell” labors on past “New Hope”, drowning in “agony and despair” (Faulkner 121). The etymology of Dewey Dell’s name originates from dew, which represents youth and how it quickly evaporates, and dell, an ignorant, vagrant wench (Ross 307). In the efforts to bury Addie in Jefferson, Dewey Dell travels through New Hope Church, wishing an abortion. In reality, the Bundrens’ whole journey is a repeating concept operating to provide the book’s style of selfishness.

Though Dewey Dell explains the journey as a way of carrying Addie’s body through the countryside to Jefferson, it is actually a tactic to visit a Patel 2 drug store that can terminate her baby, thus relieving her pain (Bassett 127). Faulkner’s diction is usually a mode to discover the novel’s total themes of suffering and selfishness. The viewpoint in As I Lay Passing away functions to portray the book’s occasions through Dewey Dell’s special viewpoint. Feeling scared and alone after realizing 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 do not know whether I can cry or not. I do not understand whether I have tried to or not. I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth” (Faulkner 64). The repeated first individual viewpoint develops Dewey Dell’s frenzied, unstable emotional state. In addition, the narrative of this passage signifies Dewey Dell’s childlike character as it expresses her confusion over Addie’s death and her pregnancy. Faulkner defines her as a baffled youth, incapable of dealing with the burdens of life. The very first person story 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 people like the Bundrens, life is a helpless concern and death is a sweet relief. Moreover, Dewey Dell remembering God emphasizes her desperation in the novel. Dewey Dell’s point of view defines her as a childish character who is also a victim throughout the book. Dewey Dell’s syntax moves informally and inconsistently throughout As I Lay Perishing, producing a really juvenile, victimized voice.

Her very first lines are loose and disconnected as they begin revealing her sexual relations with Lafe, but then suddenly transition to Anse’s medical condition (Faulkner 26). These quick shifts represent Dewey Dell’s unpredictably scattered ideas and her uncertainty towards her pregnancy which cause her to ramble. Here, Faulkner defines Dewey Dell as a naive girl, unable to interact in a fully comprehensible manner (Bassett 133). In addition, Faulkner uses the use of misspellings, such as “dassent” Patel 3 and “aint”, in Dewey Dell’s narration to portray the dialect of the ignorant, bad Mississippi farmers (Ross 300).

In addition, the repetitive “and, and, and, and” structure later introduces the reader to the other Bundrens in a childish way through Dewey Dell’s perspective. For Dewey Dell: “It resembles everything in the world … is inside a tub filled with guts, so that you wonder how there can be any room in it for anything else very essential. He is a big tub of guts and I am a little tub of guts and if there is not any room for anything else crucial in a huge tub of guts, how can it be room in a little tub of guts” (Faulkner 58). Faulkner uses these stringy sentences, packed with an overuse of combinations and repetitions, o illustrate Dewey Dell’s childish, droning voice. However, her most striking repetition is, “I could not help it” (Faulkner 27). This brief sentence significantly emphasizes her role as a victim throughout the novel as Lafe deviously rapes her and leaves her with the problems of an undesirable kid. In addition, it is necessary to note that a majority of Dewey Dell’s narratives continuously position “I” in the middle of her sentences, for instance, “From the back patio, I can not see the barn” (59 ). In placing the reliant provision in the start, Dewey Dell suggests little self- self-confidence and reduces herself.

This lack of confidence furthers the image of Dewey Dell as a victim in the novel (Bassett 130). Overall, Faulkner defines Dewey Dell as a childish and naive victim of the suffering around her through her syntax in As I Lay Dying. In a badly cynical yet juvenile tone, Faulkner eventually characterizes Dewey Dell as the book’s naive victim. Her diction operates to portray the novel’s deeper styles of human selfishness and the suffering endured in life. Moreover, the very first individual viewpoint constructs a close relationship between readers and Dewey Dell, as they can experience the rantically confused emotions along with the book’s young heroine. Lastly, the casual, inconsistent syntax provides Dewey Dell’s victimized and childish persona. Works Cited Bassett, John Earl. “As I Lay Dying: Family Conflict and Verbal Fiction.” The Journal of Narrative Technique. 11. 2 (1981 ): 125-134. JSTOR. Web. 27 April 2014. Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York City: Random Home. Print. Patel 4 Ross, Stephen M. “‘Voice’ in Narrative Texts: The Example of As I Lay Dying.” PMLA. 94. 2 (1979 ): 300-310. JSTOR. Web. 26 April 2014.

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