Social Environment In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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Social environment influences every action done and every word spoken or written no matter how obviously. From birth, the world surrounding a person sends them small messages of how to act and how to speak. This concept is usually apparent in the written works produced by man. As I Lay Dying reflects the society that surrounded the author and points out several factors from that time in history. The novel reflects the social issues and concerns of the time such as female rights and poverty. William Faulkner uses his setting and his characters to mimic his hometown in Mississippi and mock the state’s slow coming to the progression happening in the rest of the country. He sets up the novel in such a way that the character’s emotions are made …show more content…
By allowing each character to narrate their own views on the occurrences and include their inner thoughts and emotions, he proposes a new way of thinking for his audience and an all around view of the story. With this choice of narration, Faulkner sets up a debate on whether any person can give an objective account of an event or whether perception is completely subjective.
Every character describes what is happening around him or her in a completely different way than the others; some recount events they weren’t present for as if they had an up close and personal view while others could barely explain what they themselves were doing. This difference also creates a set of characteristics for each narrator that allows readers to connect with them on a more personal and entertaining level.
One of the most important narrations in the novel is that which is done by the deceased character, Addie. Not only is this section of the novel important to the story because it gifts the audience with a better understanding of what is happening, but it is also important to the overall impact of the novel. This proposes yet another question— whether there is consciousness after death. This most definitely is not the most important question proposed by the novel, but it does add to the overall psychological effect of the
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While elsewhere in the world women were attaining more and more power and rights (Swain), in Mississippi, women were still treated as property, or as less intelligent beings (Wynne). This history is reflected in the words and descriptions of Dewey, the only living female member of the Bundren family. She is portrayed as being less intelligent and controlled by her emotions, specifically when she is taken advantage of in her attempts to receive an abortion (Faulkner). This reflects the common views of women in the society of the time and presents more conflict for the already complicated story.
Mississippi also provides the author with the opportunity to comment on the poverty that was still minorly present in the 1920s but overshadowed by the prohibition and the booming economy (Wynne). He uses the Bundren family as a representation of all those who did not have any money to spare but were neighbored by those who did. This is a reflection of the problems that he saw as an adolescent that he felt were not accurately represented in the published works of the time (Fowler). The social commentary is not only present in the setting and the characters,

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