As I Lay Dying Existentialism Essay

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Over the course of the novel, Faulkner explores existential behaviors and questions about the meaning of life and death, as well as trying to understand the purpose an individual has in an irrational world. Characters such as Darl, Addie, and Vardaman all convey existentialistic behavior leaving them to view the world from a different perspective than other characters such as Jewel. Throughout the novel, Addie, Darl, and Vardaman all act differently than Jewel due to their existentialist ideas. Although it is important to understand the world around us, if we become submerged into our own thoughts and try to understand the complex world around us, we might lose ourselves in the process. At the heart of the entire novel is Addie Bundren, as her death and decision to be…show more content…
In As I Lay Dying, Darl is constantly questioning his existence and the existence of everyone around him. In one of the chapters narrated by Darl, he is reflecting on sleep and the existence. He says, "And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not" (80). In this passage, we can see how Darl is questioning sleep and the meaning of existence as well as comparing sleep with death. Darl is saying that he is because he can “empty himself for sleep” but that Addie is not because she is asleep. Darl also says, "When you are filled with sleep, you never were" (80). This could mean that after you die, it is as if you never existed at all. After a lot of thinking, Darl comes to the conclusion that he does exist, at least at that moment in time, because, "I could not empty myself for sleep in a strange room. And so if I am not emptied yet, I am is" (81). We can see how Darl is an experiencing an "existential crisis” throughout the book because he seems to be the most focused on existence and how he knows if he
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