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As I Lay Dying



It's intimidating to discuss authors like Faulkner when well-educated academics can give a more thorough, intellectual exposition of his work. Still, as a girl growing up in the south with superstitious and even criminal relatives, I'm strongly connected to his characters. I know them--I've loved and hated them my entire life.

As I Lay Dying is a poetic, absurd and comedic tragedy with Anse Bundren hell-bent on taking his dead wife to Jefferson to lay her to rest. He's of the notion that he's honoring her final wish, but the trip desecrates her corpse and makes fools of the entire family.

However, it's interesting how his children and the community comply with his ridiculous plan while knowing they'll regret it. Armstid comments, " . . . if there aint something about a durn fellow like Anse that seems to make a man have to help him, even when he knows he'll be wanting to kick himself next minute."

Is it allegiance to blood that clouds their sense and makes reasonable people do stupid things? Or is it a morbid curiosity of watching a feckless man steer his people on a ludicrous journey? Anse must have had some charisma to inspire their loyalty. And perhaps that's why he's so dangerous.

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