A Comparison Of The Odyssey And As I Lay Dying

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In William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying, the Bundren family makes a journey to the town of Jefferson to bury their mother. However, this is not the only journey taking place. Darl is slowly going mad and Addie is making her journey to the afterlife. In the poem The Odyssey by Homer, similar events unfold with Agamemnon who is also making his trip to the underworld. There are similarities between the journey of Odysseus to Ithaca in The Odyssey and the Bundren family in As I Lay Dying.

The Bundren family’s struggling to get to Jefferson is similar to the journey Odysseus makes to Ithaca in The Odyssey. Addie is still alive while her coffin is being built and the first set of problems arises. The characters note that soon the
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While on their journey, the Bundrens pass a sign for New Hope.Dewey Dell wants to get an abortion but she can only do that if she can talk to a town doctor. She says her prayers of “I believe in God, God. God, I believe in God” (122) desperately hoping they will not turn around and go to New Hope. We see tension occurring within the family since Darl knows Dewey Dell’s secret. She is afraid that he will mention the sign and prevent her from getting her abortion. This tension continues and shifts over to Darl with the rest of the family, especially towards Jewel and Addie. As the family is trying to cross the river, Darl sees that the water is getting rough and he saves himself leaving Cash to get the wagon and the coffin across. They know that they are losing the battle with the current and “that [they] were gone” (147-148). This chapter in particular is very similar to The Odyssey in the sense that Poseidon, the sea god, gets mad at Odysseus for what he did to Polyphemus. Poseidon prevents Odysseus from making his way through his realm by attacking him with great sea storms. Similarly, the Bundrens are slowed by the river just as Odysseus was slowed by these storms. On top of this, Jewel can be seen as being a parallel to Odysseus because both characters have a strong sense of intellect, courage, and pride. In As I Lay Dying, Jewel is shown as doing deeds he does not …show more content…
The title is a reference to a statement made in The Odyssey by Agamemnon to Odysseus saying that “As I lay dying, the woman with the dog 's eyes would not close my eyes as my soul descended into Hades”. (Book 11). According to Harold Bloom, the title “refers to a husband who has been betrayed and murdered by his unfaithful wife, a situation which raises interesting parallels in the Bundren family.” It shows tension between characters that causes conflict and increases the duration of the journey. William Faulkner’s novel also shows the many obstacles that are thrown towards this one family trying to prevent them from completing the journey just like in The Odyssey where Poseidon throws many obstacles at Odysseus in an attempt to stop

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