Literature Study Guides – Book Student Essay “Blog Archive “As i lay dying

The "sin" of Addie is not sex, or even her miserable philosophy oflife and death, but the damage she has inflicted on her children. Does thereader judge Addie for helping to fashion a miserable and bewilderedfamily, or does the reader finally yield to a sense of compassion, or atleast pity, for this lost family? . . However, a word must be said about the passion always lurking underthe surface of this woman's strict bitterness, just as a powerful pressureexists under the lid of a boiling pot. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn't need a word for that anymore than for pride or fear. Her reflection on sex with herhusband is a high point of the chapter, demonstrating not only the hiddenpassion repressed in the woman, but also her crippled view of life as anexperience inevitable and profoundly sinful.

. . . The chapter forces the reader, as does the rest of the book, toplumb his or her own soul and demands a human and spiritual response to aset of people who, aside from Darl, have no concept of selflessness oraffirmation of life. I have cleaned my house" (174; 176). Just as Addie had infected her children with a set of perceptions inwhich they have become imprisoned, Addie herself is prisoner to theperception left her by her father: "I could just remember how ny fatherused to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a longtime" (169).

She is haunted by thelifelessness of her father just as she haunts her children with her ownbitter and hopeless dying and death. She sees her children asfactors in a ledger which must be balanced before she is ready to die: I gave Anse Dewey Dell to negative Jewel.

. As I Lay Dying. And now he has three children that are his and not mine. The chapter and the dry, angry, miserable, cynical toneof the woman gives the reader to knowledge of what has brought and heldthis unhappy family together as well as what will tear it apart once thechildren have finished carting Addie's rotting body to Jefferson. This is the miserable, lost, bitter, cold, dry old woman whose bodyher children come together to cart to Jefferson to be buried. . New York: Vintage International,199 .

----------------------- 7 . This is the dry, bitter style of a woman who truly believes thatnothing matters, nothing except doing one's duty as a woman---having sex, having babies, cleaning house, and dying: "I gave Anse the children. . Darl searches for the truth in confusion and goes mad as a result, yet he still remains affirmative in his attitude toward life and hisfamily. And then I could get ready to die (176). and that duty Ifulfilled.

It isfinally up to the reader to decide in his or her own heart. However, because it is a novel ofconsciousness and self-knowledge, or the tragic lack thereof, we seem to beinvited by Faulkner to put some degree of blame on the mother for what hashappened to her children. . . I believed that the reason was the duty to the alive, to the terrible blood, the red bitter flood boiling through the land.

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