Death In Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying brings forth multiple themes that are seen throughout the characters’ spiritual, mental, and physical lives. Mortality exists in all three aspects of the Bundren family’s lives. In the novel, death looms over each of the characters’ lives spiritually and physically. Faulkner uses death as a reminder that after this life there is a relief in death; additionally, for religious characters death is a reward after living well and accomplishing your work (Shmoop Editorial Team 2). The characters are also reminded that death takes a toll on the living by the fact that multiple characters have a spiritual and mental struggle. The novel shows the reader that people cope with death in different ways. Faulkner uses death as a relief from …show more content…
Cora, for example, says, "lay me down in the consciousness of my duty and reward... kiss of each of my loved ones into my reward" (Faulkner 23). Cora wants to live her life well and considers herself an avid Christian, but she is hypocritical, prideful, and judgmental towards the Bundren family for their lack of religion (Bolton, Matthew par. 12). In the novel, death is believed to come when one has completed all of their duties and fulfilled their roles in life. Tull remembers that his mother lived to be over seventy and she worked every day of her life until one day she just laid down and told her children to look after their father (Faulkner 30). This shows that after one lives his or her life well and fulfills his or her duty, that person is rewarded with death - an escape from the troubles of …show more content…
Faulkner uses this concept many times in As I lay Dying; for example, Anse realizes that death is an easy way out of life after his children view him as a failure. Anse says, "I hate for my blooden children to reproach me… Addie. It was lucky for you you died, Addie" (Faulkner 256). In some cases, someone else’s death can provide relief to those who suffer from the failures of others. The Bundren children suffer from Anse’s mistakes many times, so without Anse the children could have relief (Shmoop Editorial Team 1). Peabody states that Cash should have stuck Anse’s head in the nearest sawmill to cure the Bundren family (240). Death can be a relief from one’s own stress and hardships, but it can also be relief from suffering from another’s

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