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Experiencing Salvation in as I Lay Dying


Experiencing Redemption in As I Lay Dying ENGLISH 215 October 31, 2011 William Faulkner’s As I Lay Passing away centers on the unreasonable journey that the Bundren family requires to Jefferson to bury their dead mother, Addie. Faulkner frames this journey through the lens of various narrators with a particular focus on the characters’ innermost ideas and deep interior monologues. Although the book’s plot revolves around the Bundren household, characters beyond the family are important to offer an unbiased view.

Without these outdoors characters, much of Faulkner’s commentary would be lost.

One of the most essential characters outside of the Bundren family is Cora Tull. It is through her character that Faulkner makes his most potent commentary on the ideas of sin, salvation, and hypocrisy. With the strong irony that is used throughout the unique, Faulkner twists Cora’s relatively ideal moral character and utilizes her rather as an example of what not to be. Through the juxtaposition of Addie and Cora, Faulkner looks for to highlight religious hypocrisy and show that Cora’s idea of spiritual salvation is faulty.

Instead, Faulkner thinks (as demonstrated through Addie) that real salvation consists of an enlightened state of self-awareness and concrete understanding of one’s own sin. Religion is echoed in every facet of Cora’s life. On the surface area, she appears to be a warm-hearted Christian spirit, however it becomes rapidly obvious that Cora’s understanding of faith is skewed. Cora is always seen serving her next-door neighbors but Cora’s charity is not genuine. She serves not out of love, however to keep up a Christian appearance and get a guaranteed divine benefit (23, 93).

When Cora attempts to serve, even her spouse (Vernon Tull) comments that she attempts to “crowd the other folks away and get in closer than anybody else (71 ). “She is very interested in the eternal state of others around her, but again, her concern is not out of love. Cora specifies that just God can see into the heart (167 ), however in her piety Cora slams others and thinks that they will just be conserved if they embrace her works based religion.

Cora’s life experiences have just increased her desire to serve more dutifully since she has actually made the respect of others in the community. In this paradoxical method, Cora’s hypocrisy has actually served her well on this earth. On the other hand, Addie’s life experiences have actually formed her into a defiant, unsatisfied and bitter woman. Through Cora’s eyes, Addie is a bad mother and is in desperate need of repentance. Cora believes that Addie is blind to her own sin which it is sacrilegious to trust in Gem rather of turning to God for redemption.

Nevertheless, it is Cora that can not see and passes judgment blindly. Cora does not understand the ramifications behind Addie’s favoritism to Jewel which the male Cora has actually positioned on such a holy pedestal (Minister Whitfield) remains in truth a source of Addie’s sin. Cora does not know that it was Minister Whitfield that wished to cover up the affair which Addie’s grant remain quiet ran out love for the quick complete satisfaction she had found in him– Addie has actually always stayed genuine; she had no desire to be deceitful.

Cora’s mistaken judgments have plenty of words that “go directly up in a thin line, fast and safe (173 ).” In Addie’s section in the novel, she explains the scene where Cora desires Addie to hope with her to receive a redemption (168, 174). The reason Cora thought that Addie might receive redemption by saying a prayer is due to the fact that Cora’s religious beliefs is empty, filled with meaningless words and “people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is simply words too (176 ). Cora’s word-oriented spiritual hypocrisy is a direct manifestation of Addie’s idea that words lack significance and are simply “shape(s) to fill a lack (172 ).” In distinguishing the distinctions in between Addie and Cora, it is made clear who can ultimately experience redemption. Although pious Cora might have experienced some worldly success, Faulkner is recommending that she will never ever obtain redemption because she is blinded in her hypocrisy and is taken in with duty and a works-based religion. Cora knows sin as it can be revealed in words but not in practice.

Addie understands the level of sin due to the fact that (unlike Cora) she has actually truly experienced it. Although Addie expresses discontent, she is at least familiar with her sin and its relationship to the nature of her being. Faulkner slams Cora’s judgmental, insincere, and pious character and rather provides Addie’s self-aware, genuine, and pragmatic understanding as the method to experience sanctification in this life. It is Addie, not Cora, who will get the benefit of true knowledge and redemption.

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