Addie Burden In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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Albert Camus, a French existentialist philosopher, believes that an individual who is unsatisfied with life will attempt to reject and try to find meaning elsewhere. One of Camus’ themes of thought was the absurd. “The absurd expresses a fundamental disharmony, a tragic incompatibility, in our existence.” (Feiser ) This view gives an individual the ability to use “free will” in order to pursue a life void of meaning. Addie Burden, in William Faulkner’s book As I Lay Dying, is portrayed as a character with a cold and bitter heart. She is a women who appears to be void of any emotional attachment, lack of nurture for anyone around her, especially her children, and a strong hatred that seems to permeate her whole being. Her life appears hopeless and without purpose. Addie’s bitter and miserable heart was reflected in the way she lived her life. Her hatred toward the world is demonstrated when her father told her that “the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time” (Faulkner 40). This implies that Addie believes that the only reason for living is to eventually die and get life over with. Furthermore when she says “I would hate my father for having ever planted me” (Faulkner 40), it shows how the influence of her father affected her outlook on life. This…show more content…
The belief that life is meaningless and that individuals can follow their own path, despite the moral consequences, is seen through the character of Addie. Camus’ theme of absurd is also intertwined in this book. Addie can never find peace and the “absurd” implies that she never will. Therefore, she must live her life lacking harmony and without any sense of true purpose. Addie is one of the characters that Faulkner uses to portray the existentialist philosophy of Albert Camus. The reader is able see this existentialist theory in the story development and understand the connection through the character of Addie
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