Experiencing Salvation in as I Lay Dying Essay

795 Words Nov 6th, 2012 4 Pages
Experiencing Salvation in As I Lay Dying
ENGLISH 215
October 31, 2011 William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying centers on the absurd journey that the Bundren family takes to Jefferson to bury their dead mother, Addie. Faulkner frames this journey through the lens of various narrators with a specific focus on the characters’ innermost thoughts and deep interior monologues. Although the novel’s plot revolves around the Bundren family, characters outside of the family are essential to provide an objective view. Without these outside characters, much of Faulkner’s commentary would be lost. One of the most important characters outside of the Bundren family is Cora Tull. It is through her character that Faulkner makes his most potent commentary
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Cora’s life experiences have only increased her desire to serve more dutifully because she has earned the respect of others in the community. In this ironic way, Cora’s hypocrisy has served her well on this earth.
In contrast, Addie’s life experiences have molded her into a defiant, unfulfilled and bitter woman. Through Cora’s eyes, Addie is a bad mother and is in desperate need of repentance. Cora believes that Addie is blind to her own sin and that it is sacrilegious to trust in Jewel instead of turning to God for salvation. However, it is Cora that cannot see and passes judgment blindly. Cora does not know the implications behind Addie’s favoritism to Jewel and that the man Cora has placed on such a holy pedestal (Minister Whitfield) is in fact a source of Addie’s sin. Cora does not know that it was Minister Whitfield that wanted to cover up the affair and that Addie’s consent to remain quiet were out of love for the brief satisfaction she had found in him – Addie has always remained genuine; she had no desire to be deceitful. Cora’s misinformed judgments are full of words that “go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless (173).” In Addie’s section in the novel, she describes the scene where Cora wants Addie to pray with her to receive a salvation (168, 174). The reason Cora thought that Addie could receive salvation by saying a prayer is because Cora’s religion is empty, full of mindless words and “people to whom sin is just a matter of

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