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Obscenity And Family Relationships In Faulkner’s Novel “As I Lay Dying


William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying provides an aggressive view of an uncommon household. The Bundren family’s mother figure, Addie, dies. While transferring her body to Jackson for burial, the remaining 6 family members have a hard time to make it alive, unimpaired, and in time so that the corpse stops decomposing and smelling. Gem, among the elder brothers, stays the most determined and connected to their mother throughout their odyssey. However, he vocally and violently confronts those associated with transferring his mother in any way, including his household. During the journey, Gem’s use of the aggressive phrase “kid of a bitch” illustrates the reverse concepts of familial relationships in the Bundren household as well as a failure to differentiate in between animals and people.

Jewel’s main use for swearing is to describe members of his household. When lifting the coffin, he describes Money as a “goddamn…think-nosed soul”, calling him “boy of a bitch” while they try to keep it well balanced (96 ). At the exact same time, Darl taunts Gem when they go to get materials to bring Addie to Jefferson. He retaliates through swearing also (40 ). Jewel never uses this term for any other relative, leaving it for Cash and Darl. “Bitch,” by technical meaning, is a female dog. Animals and their images provide themselves throughout the book, with dogs appearing at all times. Gem himself “appeared like one of these bulldogs, one of these pets that don’t bark none” (235 ). Using this, if Money and Darl are “sons of bitches,” then they are no different from animals, simply as Gem is. They are all simply pups in a litter, young animals who can not manage themselves in an appropriate manner. This shows that if they are no different from animals, then the older Bundren brothers have no need to act like people. In doing so, they do not have to follow human or social ideology, but can develop and follow their own, discussing the odd habits of the 3: Darl’s ability to just “know” things, Gem’s stoic and “wooden behavior”, and Money’s illogical logic.

Nevertheless, Addie is clearly their mom by genetics. Considering that they are self-consciously construed as “children of a bitch,” that “bitch” is Addie. Addie is only a female pet, more blurring the line between animal and human in the Bundrens’ minds. Vardaman’s “mother is a fish” (84 ), while “‘Jewel’s mom is a horse'” in spite of being the exact same person (101 ). They are unable to separate in between the variations in thinking and understanding, but make it clear that since they are all associated. Then, there is no chance the brother or sisters can not be canines themselves. Despite despising one another, they are all the very same at a genetic and really primal level. As a result, the line blurs in between animal and human, continuing to make the humans animalistic while the animals stay themselves or more humanoid. In this way, the canines as a pack are a family with an unique chain of command. The leader of the family casts them out or to the bottom if they do not follow, like Gem, or they must follow Anse’s rules. Even though he is useless, he rules the Bundren “pack”. Addie herself is likewise a bitch in the insulting sense of the term. She had Jewel, who isn’t Anse’s kid, simply to spite her other half. Jewel is her “gem”, making Jewel specifically her “child of a bitch.” The unfavorable term is a positive enforcement for all of them, developing the household relations and demonstrating how they link and relate in an animalistic, pack-like way.

However, the only ones described as “children of bitches” are the older males in the Bundren family. Dewey Dell and Vardaman are not described or cussed out utilizing “boy of a bitch”. This is because neither of those kids are Addie’s, in a belonging sense of the term. Addie “offered Anse Dewey Dell to negative Jewel” (176 ). Dewey Dell is not Addie’s, since she provided her to Anse as replacement for her own personal child, her boy. Vardaman isn’t hers either, since while Dewey cancelled out Jewel, Addie “gave [Anse] Vardaman to change the child [she] had actually robbed him of” (176 ). In doing so, they are not her boys, because Dewey is female, and because Addie offers Anse both of them. Addie does not really want them. However, the hereditary relation is still popular, though not through Gem’s cussing. Vardaman continues to draw Addie as another animal in his mind. She is rather a fish to Vardaman, because he does not come from her; he is not a “kid of a bitch” as a pet, however is still related in a different method. Vardaman can make the familial connections, mentioning that “Money is [his] bro” (195 ), “Jewel is [his] brother” (210 ), and “Darl is [his] brother” (249 ). Because Vardaman draws these conclusions, he is indirectly a “son of a bitch,” so that such phrasing indicates his relationship to everyone in his family while remaining disconnected through animalistic images.

The Bundrens are all “sons of bitches,” in some manner or another. While being straight called so by Jewel, Money and Darl then can inherently utilize this info. They do not have to act as what is considered “normal”, attracting Money’s animalistic logicality while Darl’s insights stay a more natural event than the family itself. Therefore, Faulkner’s narrative highlights her more animalistic or unusual, non-human impulses, such as vengeance on Anse or the comparable sensible estimations she makes to negate her illegitimate kid. However, as Dewey and Vardaman are not figuratively hers, they are not “children (or children) of bitches,” meaning that they are not just not called that, however are not as prominently strange as the others. The use of the term “bitch” conjures up the animalistic image of the elder Bundrens, showing their connection as well as the harshness between the other members of the family.

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