Dewey Dell Character Analysis In As I Lay Dying

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Character Analysis in As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner has remained a fairly controversial and intriguing novel when it comes to analysis. It’s “stream of consciousness” style, extensive amount of narrators, and fragmented format leave much available for differing analysis. With the overwhelming amount of narrators comes several pivotal characters. In turn, investigating characterization becomes a popular form of analysis for this work. Many critiques develop connections to societal, religious, and biographical references while explicating the importance of setting and location to the plot; however, character analysis proved to have the greatest support and draw more deep, thought out analysis. Specifically, the sexual interpretation of the sometimes seemingly innocent Dewey Dell, and the self transformation of Cash are two viewpoints that have gained attention for this novel.

Some analysts have developed a different approach than
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Most critics haven’t grouped Dewey Dell with her brothers who seem to reject the father figure in their life and rebel, but she may fit this description. She is usually perceived as fairly innocent and naive, but the meaning of her name and underlying actions could reveal a more scandalous side of her character. The meaning of her name reflects “youth and vital sexuality”. Loosely translated, dewy and dell mean a fresh morning and virginal gentalia (Kovesdy, Explicator). Her visions of Lafe along with her encounter with the man at the pharmacy could tell us that Dewey Dell conveys nascent sexuality, unhindered by patriarchy. This theory is supported by Dewey Dell’s scene in the barn while milking the cows, “She nuzzles at me, snuffing, blowing her breath in a sweet, hot blast, through my dress, against my hot nakedness, moaning” (Faulkner, 61). She fawns over her time with Lafe and creates a sexual environment
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