Autonomy In Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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Annotated Bibliography: Irony, Identity, and Autonomy in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
Atkinson, Ted. “The Ideology of Autonomy: Form and Function in As I Lay Dying.” Faulkner Journal 21.1/2 (2006): 15-27. Academic Search Complete. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. Ted Atkinson argues that Cash’s production of his mother’s coffin is a metaphor for Faulkner’s production of As I Lay Dying because they both concern themselves with form and function, as they pursue artistic autonomy despite significant stressful conditions and socio-economic demands. Atkinson describes the historical backdrop of the writing of the novel, which is the stock market crash of 1929. He argues that the novel represents how the modernist text struggles with opposing actions (engage or
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He believes that her intuitive love, which words cannot fully capture, lives on through her influences on her children. The irony is that her absence in the novel depicts her solid presence in her children’s lives. Hewson explains the importance of Addie’s monologue placed at the middle of the book, and her continued effect on her children’s attitudes and behaviors, in supporting his view that Addie is far from being a peripheral character, but a much more dominating one compared to Anse. He states that the family’s journey to Jefferson is a learning experience from their mother, who also happens to be a teacher (552). Another irony is the difference between how Anse treats his wife’s body and how he treated her when she was alive. He wants to start the trip as soon as Addie dies because that was her wish, but, in actuality, he has kept Addie motionless in her traditional female roles and responsibilities when she was living (553). In addition, Hewson asserts that the novel describes the dichotomy between female process/activity and male inactivity (554). He compares Anse’s life-as-death ideology to Addie’s commitment to seeing life as active and mobile (554). Moreover, Hewson shows that Addie sees the conflict between words and actions, a rejection of linguistic determinism (556). Vardaman cannot express his …show more content…
Simon talks about the importance of scene and imagery of metamorphosis in As I Lay Dying. He argues that the imagery of the inanimate, as it turns into the animate, proves the role of the environment in shaping and dominating confused and weak human identities and meaningless lives. Scenic elements support the theme of death, including the coffin box for Addie’s body. Simon adds that sound and sight imply the control of the environment over human and material metamorphism. Imagery, he shows, also foreshadows future bad events. Images and scenes depict the essence of chaos in human minds and behaviors. Simon asserts that time is also embodied metaphorically to show the absence of uncertainty and the futility of their journey (10). He underscores that the scene and imagery have become autonomous agents to characterize the relationship between human senses and external chaos (11). Moreover, Simon argues that Addie’s wish to be buried in Jefferson created irony because it imposed corporal reality on her husband and reverse irony through Anse’s taking of a new wife at the end of their journey (16). He describes the misery of Addie’s unfulfilled life as she becomes a mother and wife and not her own individual person (17). In contrast, Addie’s children are obsessed about her (17). Simon notes the irony of how the dead Addie brings her family together more than during her lifetime although the effects are not at all positive and are based on selfish interests (20). Simon

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    a warm, loving environment, yet a family can also be distant and show autonomy between individuals. This idea of autonomy between individuals within the family can cause a scornful environment for its members. A fruitless environment, such as the one in William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying, can cause the individuals in a family to split and become egotistical. In William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying, he depicts autonomy within the Bundren family through symbolism, his character interactions…

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