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


William Faulkner’s As I Lay Passing away provides an aggressive view of an uncommon family. The Bundren household’s mother figure, Addie, passes away. While transferring her body to Jackson for burial, the staying 6 member of the family struggle to make it alive, uninjured, and in time so that the corpse stops decomposing and smelling. Gem, one of the elder brothers, remains the most figured out and connected to their mother throughout their odyssey. However, he vocally and violently challenges those involved in transferring his mom in any method, including his family. Throughout the journey, Jewel’s usage of the aggressive phrase “son of a bitch” illustrates the reverse ideas of familial relationships in the Bundren family along with an inability to differentiate between animals and humans.

Jewel’s main use for swearing is to refer to members of his family. When lifting the coffin, he describes Money as a “goddamn…think-nosed soul”, calling him “child of a bitch” while they try to keep it well balanced (96 ). At the very same time, Darl teases Gem when they go to get materials to bring Addie to Jefferson. He retaliates through swearing as well (40 ). Gem never uses this term for any other member of the family, leaving it for Cash and Darl. “Bitch,” by technical meaning, is a female dog. Animals and their images provide themselves throughout the book, with pet dogs appearing at all times. Gem himself “appeared like one of these bulldogs, one of these pet dogs that do not bark none” (235 ). Using this, if Money and Darl are “kids of bitches,” then they are no different from animals, just as Gem is. They are all merely puppies in a litter, young animals who can not control themselves in a proper manner. This reveals that if they are no different from animals, then the older Bundren brothers have no requirement to imitate people. In doing so, they do not have to follow human or societal ideology, however can create and follow their own, discussing the odd habits of the 3: Darl’s capability to simply “know” things, Gem’s stoic and “wooden habits”, and Cash’s illogical logic.

Nevertheless, Addie is clearly their mother by genetics. Since they are self-consciously construed as “kids of a bitch,” that “bitch” is Addie. Addie is only a female pet, additional blurring the line in between animal and human in the Bundrens’ minds. Vardaman’s “mom is a fish” (84 ), while “‘Gem’s mother is a horse'” regardless of being the exact same individual (101 ). They are not able to distinguish in between the variations in believing and understanding, however make it clear that since they are all associated. Then, there is no chance the brother or sisters can not be pets themselves. In spite of despising one another, they are all the very same at a genetic and extremely primal level. Consequently, the line blurs between animal and human, continuing to make the human beings animalistic while the animals remain themselves or more humanoid. In this way, the canines as a pack are a family with an unique pecking order. The leader of the family casts them out or to the bottom if they do not obey, like Gem, or they must follow Anse’s guidelines. Although he is useless, he rules the Bundren “pack”. Addie herself is also a bitch in the insulting sense of the term. She had Jewel, who isn’t Anse’s kid, simply to spite her other half. Gem is her “jewel”, making Jewel particularly her “child of a bitch.” The negative term is a positive enforcement for all of them, building the household relations and demonstrating how they link and relate in an animalistic, pack-like method.

But, the only ones described as “kids of bitches” are the older males in the Bundren household. Dewey Dell and Vardaman are not described or cussed out utilizing “child of a bitch”. This is since neither of those children are Addie’s, in a belonging sense of the term. Addie “gave Anse Dewey Dell to negative Gem” (176 ). Dewey Dell is not Addie’s, because she provided her to Anse as replacement for her own individual child, her kid. Vardaman isn’t hers either, because while Dewey cancelled out Jewel, Addie “gave [Anse] Vardaman to change the kid [she] had robbed him of” (176 ). In doing so, they are not her boys, due to the fact that Dewey is female, and because Addie offers Anse both of them. Addie does not really want them. However, the genetic relation is still prominent, though not through Gem’s cussing. Vardaman continues to draw Addie as another animal in his mind. She is rather a fish to Vardaman, due to the fact that he doesn’t belong to her; he is not a “kid of a bitch” as a pet, but is still related in a different way. Vardaman can make the familial connections, specifying that “Cash is [his] bro” (195 ), “Jewel is [his] sibling” (210 ), and “Darl is [his] bro” (249 ). Because Vardaman draws these conclusions, he is indirectly a “boy of a bitch,” so that such phrasing shows his relationship to everybody in his family while staying disconnected through animalistic images.

The Bundrens are all “children of bitches,” in some manner or another. While being directly called so by Jewel, Money and Darl then can fundamentally use this details. They do not have to serve as what is thought about “normal”, drawing in Cash’s animalistic logicality while Darl’s insights remain a more natural occurrence than the household itself. Hence, Faulkner’s narrative highlights her more animalistic or uncommon, non-human impulses, such as revenge on Anse or the comparable sensible computations she makes to negate her invalid child. However, as Dewey and Vardaman are not figuratively hers, they are not “kids (or children) of bitches,” implying that they are not only not called that, but are not as plainly odd as the others. The use of the term “bitch” invokes the animalistic picture of the elder Bundrens, revealing their connection as well as the dissonance in between the other family members.

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