Family and Interaction in “As I Lay Passing away”
This book does not have a defined point-of-view. Each chapter features narrative from one of the numerous characters in the book, including Addie herself. The storytellers include relative, buddies, acquaintances, and some observers. Each narrator offers a different viewpoint on individuals and events. This element of the novel is maybe the most important one considering that it makes the book distinct and at the very same time it makes it dynamic, given that we learn more about the background of the members of the family and about their experiences from a various point of view in each chapter.
Certainly, sometimes the reader can only determine occasions by comparing information from different storytellers. It also highlights a major theme in the book: every character is basically separated from the others. Furthermore, the characters in the novel do not communicate effectively with one another. Contributing to this, when they do interact, they only do it through banal declarations; we never witness any external expression of feeling, we just observe their inner ideas. Misconceptions ensue due to this absence of interaction in between the relative.
We have Anse, the patriarch, a self-centered, lazy, and hypocrite guy with a bad language, and the 3 kids and daughter he had with Addie: Money, Darl, Vardaman and Dewey Dell. Then there’s Gem, who’s the illegitimate lovechild of Addie and the town reverend, however nobody knows this. However out of all these characters, including Vernon and Cora Tull (their next-door neighbors) and Dr. Peabody, the lead character is, in my opinion, Addie. Even though she only tells one chapter and she’s dead throughout most of the book, her death and her body in a coffin act as literary gadgets to give impetus to the plot and to the character’s internal thinking.
To some family members, like Money and Gem (Addie’s favorites), the journey to Jefferson to bury her is out of pure dedication, however to others, it’s a journey with ulterior motives; for Anse, to get new teeth and for Dewey Dell, to get an illegal abortion. These complexities may appear tragically comic and paradoxical initially, however if provided more thought, they seem more troubling than anything. Among the most disturbing features of this novel is the characters of Darl and Vardaman and their consistent questioning of identity.
While Vardaman attempts to deal with death by determining his mother to a dead fish, Darl goes deeper into it by questioning his own existence, isolating himself more from others and falling under insanity. Among the questions the novel seems to raise is if whether interaction is of significance or not in our daily lives, and after finishing reading this book, I can say it absolutely is, whether we like speaking with each other or not. Likewise, although this unique includes death, abortion and an inefficient family, Faulkner’s choice of tone is quite defying: a dark, funny tone, often paradoxical.
Possibly the most outrageous minute is by the end of the unique when, after all the family has actually withstood and lost, Anse has already gotten a new partner days after Addie has been buried. This sort of turn of occasions makes it difficult to extract some sort of lesson out of the book. However asides from humor, Faulkner uses another literary device, the “stream-of-consciousness” strategy, most significantly during Vardaman’s and Darl’s tirades. Through these passages, we delve deep into Faulkner’s examination of the human mind and we discover that it is a profound and intricate thing, nearly indescribable.
Still, are we all predestined to end up like Darl, in a mental asylum, just by questioning a few of life’s complexities? Prior to we even think to boggle our heads with our own identity, I discovered we need to first have some sort of self-assurance so we do not lose a sense of self if we discover something unpleasant about ourselves in any individual mental examination. If one does find anything unlikable, just considering people like the Bundrens suffices to cheer one up.