In the novel, the characters tell the story by using an internal monologue and take turns giving their version of what happened during their mother’s death. The family lives in a part of the south and must make it to town to get the mother buried in a proper setting. The actual setting of the story is based off of William Faulkner’s home town and places he grew up. He bases the characters from people he grew op around and the actions based on theirs as well.
In the beginning of the novel rain is mentioned enough to allow the reader to know there will be a cleansing soon, or at least something upsetting will happen within the story (It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow). Addie’s death is justified by the rain. The mood is set by her death and the rain together. “I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth. ”(Dewey Dell 64). Dewey Dell is the young daughter who referred to herself as a “wet seed,” and she uses the seed as a symbol of how someone can grow from a situation and become something much more. The family did grow closer in a sense after Addie’s death.
The rain begins to raise water levels within the rivers and ponds in the novel, and it causes problems for the Bundren family. William Faulkner has carefully chosen how to write As I Lay Dying successfully from the point of view from fifteen people. This story is difficult to write and understand if one does not pay close attention to the character changes known as the other chapters. A place of setting would be the road. Pa mentions the road as “… He never aimed for folks to live on a road, because which gets there first, … , the road or the house? (Anse 36). He is describing how the road is man’s creation, opposed to God’s creation of free nature, and the things that lead to human desire. The road is the setting of the main challenges the family endures on their way to bury Addie. The road is both a setting and a symbol as the place someone must go after something happens to them.
As thought by how it was a struggle to get the doctor to the home, the house was a slightly far distance from the road. This aided in the families isolation from the town. The imagery used within the novel is describing Addie is her coffin and that of the family’s surroundings. It was her wedding dress and it had a flare our bottom, and they laid her head to foot so the dress could spread out, and they made her a veil out of a mosquito bar so the auger holes in her face wouldn’t show. “(Tull 88). Why bury her in her wedding dress? It was one of her prettiest garments and it was also in the unsettling truth of her loveless marriage to Anse The way she is laying in the coffin is opposite from the average dead person. She is backwards from how people are usually laying in them. She will be facing her headstone, and it will be just like her watching Cash build her coffin.
Her facing death is an image William Faulkner wanted to create as everyone must face death at some point. The setting is shown as broken and the image is given by how the family admits their faults and Addie’s preference to Jewel. Addie’s characterization is expressed through her other children and husband. They speak of how she would treat Jewel like, well, a jewel. She baked special treat for him, and made his siblings do his work. “And I knew that she was hating herself for that deceit and hating Jewel because she had to love him so that had to act the deceit. (Darl 130-131).
In reality she did not hate Jewel for her adulterous act. She just saw something different within him than her other children, which made her try and protect him as much as she could. Sadly Jewel did not view his mother the same way. In a way Jewel is a vampire according to How To Read Literature Like A Professor in the chapter Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires. He uses his mother’s will to treat him differently to get the things he wants and does not care what the rest of the family thinks of him.
The type of vampire Jewel would be is the kind that feeds on greed. He chooses a material object before his own mother’s will to have him with her, in her final moments. Dewey Dell’s characterization can be shown by her strong will to be by her mother’s side as she died. She fanned her and herself due to the heat of the season. She was pregnant and sought “treatment” for her problem. Instead she was tricked and she is left in the same situation as earlier. Instead of crying about it, she believes the baby is gone and she feels stronger than earlier in the story.
Finally the theme of the story is set within how the family’s adventure to town is worded. They go through trials with bridges being unable to pass, and one member trying to burn the reason for going to town. All of the story is themed in a sad, slightly comical way. The father wanted false teeth, the daughter an abortion, and the others were just sent for the ride. Addie was replaced quickly and means the entire family is unstable and without her it’s almost the same. It’s a sad but true statement. The theme is about family, and how it is completely different but close