As I Lay Dying Dichotomy Analysis

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Faulkner creates the sense of autonomy in As I Lay Dying by using multiple symbols that revolve around the Bundrens. One of the most common symbols in As I Lay Dying is Addie’s coffin. According to critic Homer Pettey, her coffin is said to be the main reason and “the focus of the Bundrens' efforts, frustrations, and fixations”(3). Pettey repeats that Addie’s coffin is an object that causes the rest of the Bundren family exasperation and aggravation from its ability to throw the world into “absolute chaos”(8). Many times throughout the novel Addie’s coffin causes situations that cause the family to have great misfortunes. Addie’s coffin causes a huge misfortune when the Bundren’s ford a river and the current sweeps away the wagon, Addie’s coffin,…show more content…
Throughout As I Lay Dying is the common theme of dichotomy. Marc Hewson depicts the dichotomy between men and women with “The dichotomy between female activity and male inaction that is sketched out at the book's beginning is more fully fleshed out and reaches even higher stakes by the time Addie's monologue arrives”(3). Faulkner shows the dichotomy between man and woman through Addie and Anse’s conversations in As I Lay Dying. One of the most important pieces that shows this dichotomy is Anse argument that “If He’d a aimed for man to be always a-moving and going somewhere else, wouldn't He a put him longways on his belly, like a snake?”(As I Lay Dying 36). Anse is telling Addie how men are meant to stay where God put them and if they were meant to move God would have made them horizontal and not vertical. Anse continues on to say that men are built like trees and should stay where they are placed instead of venturing off. This altercation shows the beginning of the divide between men and women and their…show more content…
Whether it be a look into Vardaman’s childish mind or Dewey Dell’s self-centered mind, it shows a immense divide between the family members. Critic Homer Pettey validates the claim that Darl’s mentality is askew by addressing his “perceptions [that] already entrap him in the text of his own making”(8). Darl has trapped himself in a world that he cannot escape because of his perceptions after Addie’s death. He sees his mother as no longer his mother and “[he] haven’t got ere one because if [he] had one, it is was. And if it was, it can’t be is. Can it?”(As I Lay Dying 101). Darl has a crisis after his mother’s death where he believes he never had a mother to begin with. Instead of taking time to explain Addie’s death to Darl, Anse leaves Darl to think and process the death by himself with no support. Darl has a difficult time properly accepting his mother’s death, therefore Darl is unable to grieve in a healthy manner. This causes Darl to have a spur of insanity and set the barn where his mother’s coffin is residing on fire in hopes that it will rid him of her motherly presence from his wavering perception(As I Lay Dying). Darl’s mentality also wears down by the end of the novel. Darl begins to address himself as ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ indicating his unstable mentality(As I Lay
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