In accordance with the increasing impact of Modernist thought affecting American literature during the twentieth century, William Faulkner wanted to work out more speculative story strategies and styles. His unique that came from this experimentation, As I Lay Perishing, is a testimony to his review of humanity as hopelessly poor, yet unyielding, communicators. The heavily disjointed Bundren family, in addition to the handful of spectators and complete strangers who likewise happen to be a part of the burial of Addie Bundren, form a similarly disjointed patchwork of perspectives, opinions, longwinded internal monologues, and terse conversation. The resulting synthesized narrative is a literary panorama which exposes all of the overlapping layers and specific niches which produce a detailed story of the Bundren family journey. Surprisingly enough, this story of a dirt bad Southern family spending five days burying their dead mom is abundant and lively, featuring extreme psychological turmoil and the testing of familial ties, all hidden within the particular characters’ minds and ideas. Eventually, the greatest disaster of As I Lay Dying is not the death of Addie Bundren, but the suffering and resentment which the Bundrens undergo as an outcome of their failure to interact with each other, their real ideas and reflections only narrated in their particular narrative sections.
Faulkner’s most substantial representation of humanity’s failure to genuinely communicate is his implementation of fifteen different storytellers over fifty-nine different, overlapping narrative sections, freely showing the misunderstandings, deceptions, and silent reflections that straight result in all of the Bundren family’s public and personal dilemmas. Each with their own unique voice, desires, and worldly views, the numerous storytellers of the novel are distinct and varied. The Bundren family members are especially divergent in their interaction styles. The only quality they share is that they refuse to truly articulate themselves verbally to one another. All 7 of the Bundrens practically solely express themselves in the novel’s narrative through rich, personal mental accounts of their impressions, feelings, and intentions which go mostly unheard by the other family members. Money, for instance, is frequently disregarded and neglected despite his intrinsic levelheadedness. For example: “I informed them that if they wanted it to lug and ride on a balance, they would have to” (165 ). Here, Money is revealing his frustration at his household’s lack of knowledge. Being the most logical and adept of the Bundrens, Money had actually easily foreseen trouble at the crossing of the river, yet was entirely overlooked by the whole family. Faulkner even reaches to end his narrative mid-sentence. Clearly, this act of sheer disrespect towards the narrator mirrors the disrespect which Money receives when he attempts to communicate. Instead of avoid disaster completely, the Bundrens’ deaf ears and deaf souls result in catastrophe; Money is quickly separated and suppressed by both household blood and the rushing river waters. The only one who earnestly hears Money is himself. This isolation is true for all of the particular storytellers within the book. Each speaker is efficiently secluded within their own minds, represented through their respective narrative sections. Development only happens if there appears to be shared opinions among all this communicative ambiguity. Cash elaborates on this idea in concerns to Daryl’s imprisonment: “Often I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to state when a man is insane and when he aint. In some cases I believe it aint none people pure insane and aint none people pure sane until the balance people talks him that-a-way. It resembles it aint a lot what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. Due to the fact that Jewel is too hard on him” (233 ). Indeed, Money concludes that sanity, and by connection all conceptions of truth and reality, are relative to the point of views by which it is observed and interacted. Darl’s declaration of insanity is just the outcome of other point of views, like Jewel’s and the rest of the household, overpowering his own. This molding of what is thought about to be the Bundrens’ truth is exemplified by the maze of individual narrative sections which actively bend and reword their story as it happens. Seemingly, the method by which humanity views and examines truth is far too unpredictable and separated for any effective communication, particularly for the Bundrens. Additionally, Faulkner’s juxtaposition of abundant, flowing stream of consciousness passages and the comparatively blunt singing exchanges debases a large portion of the miniscule verbal communication present in the novel. The different narrative sections feature scant conversation in between the characters. Nevertheless, when compared to the abundance of resonant internal monologues which form the majority of the story’s progression, these temporary outbursts of spoken word lose much of their importance. For instance, as several of the older men of the novel collect around Cash and discuss his first broken leg, two clearly separate discussions, one internal and one external, show up. Tull remarks, probably in his mind, “I don’t mind the folks falling. It’s the cotton and corn I mind. Neither does Peabody mind the folks falling. How bout it, Doc?” (90 ). Here, Tull in a near jocular way, neglects Cash’s three-story fall from atop a church. He asserts that his and Peabody’s professions take precedence over Money’s leg only minutes, in reality, after Armstid had actually mentioned the potential of Money being bed-ridden because of the accident. The difference in between these 2 statements is that Armstid had spoken aloud and Tull had actually kept his real ideas to himself. Tull then goes off riding on a loose, flowing story which Faulkner takes the effort to completely italicize, indicating an intense separation between Tull’s thoughts and the real conversation at hand. In this particular moment, Tull is an example of how highly the characters in the unique safeguard their inner thoughts from those who may be listening. As a result of this habits, the vast shops of sincere reflections are changed into hollow bits and pieces of discussion. This is barely sufficient interaction for a family in crisis and results in numerous deadly mistakes and misconceptions. Lastly, Faulkner’s ending critique versus interaction in the novel originates from Addie’s bitter review of language, the vehicle by which all communication has so far been developed. In her lone standing narrative section, Addie Bundren assaults making use of words as a genuine technique of interaction. Especially, when describing Anse and the word “love,” she spits, “I knew that word resembled the others: just a shape to fill an absence; that when the right time came, you would not require a word for that anymore than for pride or fear,” (171 ). To Addie, words never rather “fit” the idea or feeling which they attempt to contain and symbolize, and can easily be discarded as soon as they stop working to urge the concept to which they refer. In this instance, the word “love” fails Addie in numerous aspects as she laments over her life which apparently did not have love entirely. Consequently, the word loses all meaning to her. However, Addie’s disappointment over this single word holds solid ground as a universal argument against interaction in between mankind as a whole. Words such as “love” are simple hollow representations of the tangible principle and actualization of love, the interaction of earnest idea and feeling through vessels which lack the effect and feeling needed is useless. Unfortunately, the Bundrens are only able to interact with the assistance of weak words. Yet, lacking the experience and tangibility required to convey their ideas sufficiently, all attempts of communication just fizzle out. Regardless of being separated in thought, the Bundrens and fellow storytellers act, though obliviously, as a cohesive unit that informs the story of Addie Bundren in stunning detail. Separated into individualized narrative sections, Faulkner’s web of viewpoints and characters forms a synthesis of idea which completely does not have communication. As such, the Bundrens’ failure, or possibly inability, to communicate was the ultimate source of their problems.