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What’ so Peculiar about Moseley in ‘As I Lay Dying’?

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The single chapter in As I Lay Passing away where Moseley ends up being the narrative focalizer, is anomalous since the focalizer is a character that had not yet been mentioned, and is never discussed once again. The general pattern in the book is that each focalizer is either a recurring character, or is pointed out for the very first time in the last sentences of one chapter, and after that becomes the narrative focalizer in the next. In the last sentence of one early Darl chapter, Darl states that “When Peabody comes, they will have to use the rope” (40 ). The reader has actually not heard the name Peabody yet, and as if to answer the question of Peabody’s identity, in the next chapter Peabody is the focalizer (41-46). It is as if we are presented to someone at a party, and after that are permitted to have a discussion with them. Being introduced to them in the previous chapter is necessary in offering the reader some understanding of where the character fits in. The sentence “when Peabody comes …” certainly does not provide us excessive details, however at least we know he is somebody the household understands, who is coming to assist them out. In a similar way, Darl, and Dewey Dell, and Jewel are all presented into the novel. Moseley, by contrast, is like a person who comes up to you at a celebration and just begins talking. There is no other way for the reader, as she or he initially reads this chapter, to place this female in the larger structure of the story, and more significantly, no chance to put the brief tale of the chapter in the bigger structure of the story. We see a woman who has actually gone to a pharmacy to get an abortion, but approximately this point, none of the focalizers have actually even been in a town.

As the chapter continues we realize that this scene, which was so complicated while in the midst of it, is in fact extremely clarifying for among the biggest themes of the book. We see that it is Dewey Dell who requires an abortion, and that her child is a product of incest. While in the midst of the micro-narrative, this chapter appears totally complicated,. The reader is unable to situate any of the aspects of the chapter in the structure the reader has actually developed through previous experience in the novel. However in the macro story, this tale is more apparent than many other info we get in the book. While this chapter is anomalous on a micro-level (the level of immediate experience as one checks out the book) in giving the reader an unintroduced focalizer, in the bigger structure of the book (as one has the ability to look back on previous occasions), it is representative of a repeating pattern: confusion being triggered on a micro-level and dealt with on a macro-level. The most apparent indicator of this pattern, is that the very first word of numerous chapters is a pronoun without any antecedent. “He” or “it” is the first word of nearly half the chapters. And when a mystical word does not open a chapter, a similarly strange sentence does. These first sentences are always a shock, after what minimal comfort the reader might have begun to feel with the focalizer in the previous chapter. Again, we are plunged into a darkness, out of which we should wade. But, of course, as the chapter goes on, it becomes clear who the “he” was, and who the “it” was, and why this unknown lady called Cora “saved out the eggs and baked the other day” (6 ). It was a choice to deny us of that information early in the chapter?a choice that logically follows from the extreme subjectivity of the narrators?but an option that consciously tosses the reader into confusion that could be quickly solved.

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