Language In Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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Faulkner’s auctorial protocol exhibits an intense distrust of language, as words demonstrate their fluctuating referentiality at every step. A text as tightly crafted as As I Lay Dying, whose language and technique are so obviously foregrounded, in conforming to the conventional requirements of narration, plot and character, inevitably betrays the tensions inherent in its own functioning. The novel treads the borderline between the comic and the tragic modes, towering above a commonplace collection of literary genres that include the epic, the heroic, the mock-heroic, the grotesque, the gothic, the picaresque, the romance, the farce, parody and pastiche, all the while maintaining the tenuous balance of its own distinctiveness and generic individuality.…show more content…
Words define themselves in relation to each other, as people do. As I Lay Dying is about the difference between words and deeds, and definitely there is much in the book that proves that the latter is valorised. Addie unambiguously renounces words when she comprehends their tendency to dislodge and replace reality: “When he [her first-born son Cash] was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn’t care whether there was a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride” (ALD 115). Words are not only redundant but also secondary to reality; meanings are superimposed on signs beyond the latter’s capacity of signification. Moreover, signifiers have the tendency to replace their referents, until both reality and the names given to it cease to mean anything: “because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too” (ALD 119), and Anse dies to all practical purposes when he ceases to be anything else but a name/word to

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