Female Characters In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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In the novel As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner portrayed the female characters as people who are always subjected by men and face numerous struggles of the everyday, rural, Southern woman in the 1930s. The three main female characters of the book are Cora, Dewey Dell Bundren, and Addie Bundren. Their lives are harder than men due to being repressed by the masculine-ruled society at the time. Both Dewey Dell and Cora resign themselves to their faith, but Addie broke the social norms of this era and paved her path by doing so. The purpose of women in the novel is to have a family, raise them, and take care of the household. They are seen as children-bearers. This is the role of women in rural areas at the time, and this is to be their life aspirations. Cora lives by that standard. She is obedient…show more content…
She is the one female character that challenges the standard of a southern, rural woman. Unlike Cora she isn’t obedient to her husband nor God. She cheated on her husband, Anse, with a minister and isn’t sexually satisfied by Anse. Addie isn’t happy with the traditional way of life of having a husband and kids, “So I took Anse. And when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible…” (Faulkner 171). Unlike Cora, Addie believes that this way of life was horrible and unsuccessful. Addie faces the least hardships, besides her illness and death. She isn’t restricted as much as the other women and believes in what she wants, not what she is told. She chafes against restrictions put on by society, and is even buried in her original homeland. The female characters of As I Lay Dying do face hardships, but characters such as Dewey Dell and Cora set themselves up for it, rather than following in Addie’s footsteps. They are controlled by the patriarch-driven society and chose to accept it. Addie however, refuses to conform to this norm and ultimately leads her to not face the hardships the other women
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