Introduction Theword ” alienation” An American novelist William Faulkner has written As I Lay Dying inmodernism, a significant movement appeared in the nineteenth century. Modernismwas a change in the form and style of literature and especially novel. Faulkner has used a specific technique “stream of consciousness” todiscover the inner feelings of the characters. He used multiple narrators thateach individual character expressed his view and feeling differently about theevents that occurred to the family, to present the notion of alienation in thenovel. Although psychological problem and financial problem were a major reasonbehind appearing alienation in the novel. Section one in this study presents Faulkner’s biography and styleregarding to the “Faulkner’s Alienated Family in As I Lay Dying “. Section twointroduces the background of the novel with its historical background as wellas the title of the novel with the plot. While Section three is about themovement which had a significant influence on the novel.
And the last sectiondiscusses alienated family in the novel As I Lay Dying. WilliamFaulkner’s Biography and style An American Author who was born in New Albany, Mississippi in 1897. Hehad received the Nobel Prize 1950, a national book Award, and a Pulitzer Prize.Faulkner wrote short stories and many important novels such as As I LayDying, The Hamlet, Light in August, Absalom, and Go Down, Moses.
Manycritics regarded Faulkner as a great and influential American writer of thetwentieth century. He once said “It opened up a gold mine of people, as I created a cosmosof my own” because the fictional cosmos that Faulkner created was aYoknapatawpha Country which it has its own reality. He indicted what happenedthere with a significant that only literature can impart. With the appearanceof each novel that he wrote, he filled in the history of the country.
So this wasthe history of the society, the decisions it faced, the directions in which itwas drown, and with its effort to maintain its traditions and principle ofintegrity. However, his focus was not only on the south but, involving allhumanity. The violent and insane consequences of race and money in Faulkner’ssouth become in his fiction a history of the whole United States, which in turnwas a history of the fallen human race. Faulkner’s writing seemed Shakespearean in its great expressiveness andin its remarkable range of characters, situation, and tones. Faulkner’sgreatness is obvious through his novels and situations that he used, extendingfrom earthy comedy to deep tragedy and in huge power of expression.
He died in1962. (Hodgins,1996). 2.
The Backgroundof As I Lay Dying Faulknerwas one of the American’s special modernist authors. The novel “As I LayDying” has been written in modernism so Faulkner as a modernist interestedin those new forms and styles that produced by modernism, a movement which isbroadly used to identify new and distinctive features in the topics, forms,concepts ,and styles of literature in the nineteenth century(Abrams,2005). It wasalso a reaction against Victorian and Romanticism.
Modernism in literature waslike a breaking rules of tradition and conventions (Cuddon,2013). The mostnoticeable modernist principles that were used by Faulkner were stream ofconsciousness, multiple narrator, realistic southern characters, and focusingon the lower-social class families. It can take to a considerationthat this novel has been written after World War I that is why the effects ofthe War were evident in the novel. The subjects were about the destructions thatappeared in a result of the War and the setting was in the south. Faulkner’snovel “As I Lay dying” contains all of these principles that appeared ina result of the War.
In addition, Faulkner’s characters had a strong impact notonly on the region but on the world generally because of their surviving withthe difficult problems that they faced. Faulkner himself called As I Lay Dying”A deliberate book ” and a planned ” tour de force” proposing the kind ofhighly self-conscious creative process so often attributed to modernists (Meriwether,2004;297). Thetitle of this novel comes from Agamemnon’s speech to Odysseus in the Odyssey:”As I lay dying the woman with the dog’s eyes would not close my eyes for me asI descended in to Hades.” Fredrick Karl,one of Faulkner’s biographers, contends that “I” related to one character inthe novel who is “Darl” but, Most of others thought that Addie is “I”. This novel has a simple subject matter. Ittook nearly not more than a nine-day long burial process that participated by apoor family. It begins with Addie lying in her bed, and ends with her final ceremony.No extraordinary happening has been seen.
This Novel can be regarded as a journeybook, like The Canterbury Tales, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, TheOdyssey, On the Road. Although the story of the journey was important, Faulknerdid not emphasis on details that were not as important as the people on thejourney and the meaning of the journey (Goss,2015). 3.
AlienatedFamily in As I Lay Dying Alienation is one of the major features of themodern novel, which ranks at the top especially in As I Lay Dying. There aresome significant reasons behind appearing alienation in Burden family; psychologicalproblem, financial problem and selfishness of the family members, loss of thelove and responsibility. The members of the Bundren familywere living with each other and they were together in the journey but essentiallyalienated from each other. No effective conversations happened between themembers of Burden family so Faulkner showed this Alienation through usingmultiple narrators (fifteen different narrators) in telling the story.
Each characterhad their own interpretation to what occurred. The family members did notreveal their wishes to each other while the Bundrens contain of only sevencharacters. Not only the individuals alienated from others, but they were alsoalienated from God, or from the sense of religion.
(Gale ,2016) The major reason behind appearing alienationwas a psychological problems. There was no kind or warm relations between themembers of the family. No one was precious to anyone else, no one felthappiness either.
Meaninglessness and uncertainty make the whole view of thenovel totally gloomy. Most important alienated character in As I Lay Dying wasDarl, Addie’s second child .The particular alienated character in the novel wasDarl because of his psychological problem. Part of Darl’s alienation came fromhis sensitive personality and the other part is referred to painful situation (thedeath of his mother and the burial journey) which strongly affected his psychology(Peek, Hamblin,2004). Faulkner in this novel used stream of consciousness, is atechnique which seeks to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings whichpass through the mind. This term first used by William Jamce in Principle ofPsychology (1890) to indicate the flow of inner emotions (Cuddon,2013).
Streamof consciousness used by the narrators of the story, who each one interpretedthe events through his or her view and emotions. Certainly, the stream ofconsciousness has been clearly seen by Darl, who was one of the main narratorsof the story. He expressed his inner thoughts and feelings through his strangeactions and quotations as nervously said: “Yes yes yes yes yes yesyes.” (Faulkner,1957 :244) “In a strange room you must emptyyourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you….
I don’tknow what I am. I don’t know if I am or am not. Jewel knows he is, because hedoes not know that he does not know whether he is or not.
” (Faulkner,1957) Darl was a character that lived in the world but he was somehow not ofthe world. He had some significant ability that was rare for other peoples suchas, Darl’s realization of his sister’s pregnancy. It was abnormal sense orability when he talked with his sister telepathically about her secret. In thisquotation Darl indirectly told her sister “Dewy Dell” about recognizing herwish for going to the town to do the abortion:”I said to Dewey Dell: ‘You want herto die so you can get to town: is that it?” (Faulkner,1957) Above all, Darl’s intellectual sensibility made him alienated from thecommunity. Beside acknowledging his sister’s pregnancy, He was also aware ofthings that will happen in the future. Asssss suddenly he felt his mother’sdeath by uttering these words when he was in the town with his brother Jewel: “Jewel’s hat droops limp about hisneck…Jewel, I say, she is dead, Jewel.
Addie Bundren is dead.” (Faulkner,1957) Even though Darl alienated himself from neighbors and also from hisfamily (Atkinson). For example, “Tull” The Bundren’s neighbor declared Darl’salienation through his speech when he said: “I have said and I say again, that’sever living thing the matter with Darl: he just thinks by himself too much”(Faulkner,1957;71) Darl’s alienation reached ttttttthe peak when he burned Gillespie’s barnduring an overnight repose.
That is why Darl’s expression involved destructionrather that construction in a result of his psychological problem. Althoughthis burning was a response to the pain that he enabled to express it over lossof his mother and also the burial journey In the end of the novel, Darl hasbeen taken to an insane asylum in Jackson after trying to incinerate hismother’s coffin by burning down Gillespie’s barn. (Atkinson). Another major reason behind appearing alienation in this novel As ILay Dying was a financial problem (Materialism or Marxism).
The theory ofMarxism is always linked with materialism. Marxism is a materialist philosophy:attempt to explain things without supposing the existence of a world, or offorces, beyond the natural world and the society (Barry,2009). Carl Marx, aGerman philosopher who founded the notion of Marxism. Carl Marx was the maintheorist of modern socialism, believed that life is materialistic, startingwith the need for food and shelter; the physical facts of life maybe said toshape human consciousness rather than the other way around. The materialeconomic world he called the base; a superstructure is built upon that base,and it is economics is the driving material force of society and of the classdifferences between the bourgeoisie, the capitalist upper class, and theproletariat, the working class that supplies the capitalists, or owner of thewealth, with their labor. Marx saw life as having a materialist base, spiritualexpressions he saw as a culture’s ideology, and that ideology would support theneeds of the dominant class (Guerin .etal,2011). Marxism observes developmentas coming about through the struggle for power between different social classes(Barry,2009).
According to the theory of Marxism money and materials are so importantand it can rrrrrrule the life. This novel As I Lay Dying also affectedby the theory of Marxism because of the proletarian social class family whichis Bundren family. The author Faulkner used this working social class to showthe life and the situation of southern people.
The idea of Marxism alienatedAns from his family. Ans was the father of the Bundren family and he wasAddie’s husband. He was not a good father for his children and also he was not arrrresponsible man.
Ans was in a working social class, who was thinking tosteal money from his children in order to get a new set of teeth. One part ofAns’s alienation came from his eager to steal money from his children and theother part came from his selfishness. He was clearly careless about his family,children and especially his wife “Addie”. Even he did not really love his wifeand he did not felt sorry for her death, in a reason that he was too busy withhis wish to go to the town, collect the money and got the teeth, as it isevident in his speech when he said: “God’s will be done,” hesays. “Now I can get them teeth.
” (Faulkner,1957)”But now I can get them teeth.That will be a comfort. It will.” (Faulkner, 1957;111) The Bundren’s neighbors and most members of the family thought that Ansewanted to took Addie’s body for burial to Jefferson because Ans promised hiswife Addie in her death-bed, but it was not true. The right reason behind goingto Jefferson was the selfishness of Anse, to get a new set of teeth as hedeclared himself.
“I give my promise, She iscounting on it.” (Faulkner, 1957) In addition, Ans sent his two eldest sons, Darl and Jewel, to take thewagon to the town for trading, for three dollars although he was aware of hiswife’s situation. At that time when the novel has been written, three dollarswas more a lot than nowadays. That iswhy when Addie died her two sons were not at home because of Ans’s wish forcollecting money. So it is clear that even the smallest amount of money is amatter of life and death for the Bundren’s. Ans was responsible to what washhhhhhappened to Addie’s coffin (nearly to be burned and destroyed by thestorm) because he sent Darl and Jewel to the town that is why they must waitfor the wagon to return back. When the wagon returned back ,the storm started.
This is evident that Ans was alienated himself from his family and he was notaware of his children’s wish. His selfishness derived him toooooo alienation.At the end of the novel Ans took Dewy Dells abortion money and eventually usedit to buy a new set of teeth. The selfishness of Ans is strongly obvious whenhe get married to another woman in his dead wife’s siteeeee The noticeable point is that theBundrens’ need for/// of money was so restrictive and affected all theirdecisions (Peek,Hamblin,2004). Another alienated character in As I Lay Dying was Dewy Dell, Theonly girl in the Bundren family.
Her alienation came from her problem which washer pregnancy. With the death of her mother “Addie” she didn’t feel any pain becauseof her busy minddddd with her enormous problem which actually alienated herfrom her family and especially her mother. This was Dewy Dell’s expressionabout her mother’s death: “I heard that my mother is dead. Iwish I had time to let her die. I wish I had time to wish I had.
” (Faulkner, 1957)Dewy Dell in this quote explainedthat her secret has been discovered by her brother “Darl”. However, nodiscussions and conversations occurred between the members of the familyespecially between Dewy Dell and her brother “Darl” but, Darl’s intuitionawaked him to acknowledge his sister’s pregnancy(Peek,Hamblin,2004):”And so it was because I could nothelp it. It was then, and then I saw Darl and he knew. He said he knew withoutthe words like he told me that ma is going to die without words…And that’s whyI can talk to him with knowing with hating because he knows.” (Faulkner,1957) Eventually, any individual lived in her or his world. Especially DewyDell was the only girl of the Burden family although physically she was livingwith her family but, spiritually she was alienated from her family.
The Bundrenfamily in As I Lay Dying faced most significant problems such as,psychological problem and financial problem which made them alienated. Conclusion Alienation is one of the main and effective themes in As I LayDying which is written by William Faulkner in the nineteenth century. Faulknerused particular factors to illustrate the alienated family in As I lay Dying.By multiple narrators, he explains different views from eachcharacter about the event that occurred to the family. Psychological problem and financial problem heavily affects the membersof Bundren family to be alienated in As I lay Dying. Darl’spsychological problem made him alienated from society and also from his family.
In other hand the financial problem made Ans to be alienated from his familybecause of his interest in/////greedy to material world. In my view, it is only love that can control or save the familyfrom alienation. When love is existed or felt by the members, all troubles canbe solved. I think if there was love between the members of the family theywill never alienated if there were a million reasons to be alienated. References · Abrams,M.H (2005) A Glossary of Literary Terms. 8th ed.
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