Use Of Language In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

2420 Words10 Pages
To speak is to befoul, and thus the only pure word in As I Lay Dying, and the synecdoche for Faulkner’s impeccable language, is the blank space at the centre of Addie’s section. Similarly, in the novel the thick sound of adzing is performed by the irregular. Darl Bundren says: A good carpenter. Addie Bundren could not want a better one, a better box to lie in. It will give her confidence and comfort. I go on to the house, followed by the Chuck. Chuck. Chuck. of the adze. (4)
These examples attest to the fact that, in Faulkner’s view, the performativity of language is contingent on the enhancement of its graphic quality. Through a radical experiment with language in the novel, Faulkner created a kind of foreign
…show more content…
Poststructuralist thinkers like Foucault and Deleuze differentiate schizophrenia as a positive force that creates poetry from pathological schizophrenia that disconnects a patient completely from the society. Deleuze and Guttari state, “We make a distinction between schizophrenia as a process and the way schizophrenics are produced as clinical cases that need hospitalizing: it’s almost the same thing in reverse. The schizophrenics in hospitals are people who’ve tried to do something and failed, cracked up” (Negotiations 23). Deleuze and Guttari, here, more or less share the same organic, poststructuralist concerns characteristic of a community that tries to make sense out of a flippant signifying system. Faulkner’s use of language in As I Lay Dying manifests schizophrenia as a creative force by pushing language to its limit of understandability and making it foreign to itself. Derrida argues that while this mad or rhetorically constituted voice (creative force) displaces the view of the uniform meaning in literature, it continues to be governed by the order of truth, or the precedence of the signified to the signifier. In other words, the emphasis on the intersubjective experience does not eliminate the view of the ideality of speech and continues to be determined by the metaphysical…show more content…
Their schizophrenic language envisions a true “breakthrough” of the novel. Andre Bleikasten points out that Darl’s madness is ‘as much as a breakthrough as a breakdown” thanks to his poetic language. Although Bleikasten is attempting to show the positive side of Darl’s madness through the comment, the “breakthrough” he implies refers to a psychological escapism (Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying 90). Nobody escapes the world of As I Lay Dying, but language does. Addie’s death and Darl’s madness in its clinical sense do not free them from the system. As soon as they escape the system, they are caught and contained by the system; one is mourned and buried, and the other is secluded and safely sent to Jackson. Their unheard voice in actual life, however, is set loose; their unspoken stories that do not have words to be expressed in the major language are spoken, through the narrow passage of the minor use of the major language. Andre Bleikasten points out that Darl’s madness is “as much as a breakthrough as a breakdown” thanks to his poetic language. Although Bleikasten is attempting to show the positive side of Darl’s madness through the comment, the “breakthrough” he implies does refer to nothing more than psychological escapism (Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
Open Document