Discussion Board Assignment, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 406

Essay

What strikes me first about the opening chapters of As I Lay Dying is how Faulkner is clearly intending to make his story character-driven.  More exactly, this is what I perceive as soon as  Cora’s voice replaces Darl’s.  The essence of what is being related aside, I am given the powerful impression of individual presences, which in turn conveys to me individual, and likely differing, perceptions.  Darl’s opening is both poetic and matter-of-fact.  He describes the scene of the cottonhouse as though he is providing a witness report, and every fact is presented as fact.  He mentions twice, for example, that Jewel is 15 feet behind him.  Then, the scene is revealed by Darl clearly, yet with a poetic sensibility.  Specific action is related, as in Cash’s fitting together of boards, but this is followed by a kind of dreamy interpretation: “Between the shadow spaces they are yellow as gold, soft gold” (Faulkner  4).  This is an opening of mystery, as though a curtain is raised and impressions are allowed, because I cannot quite know what is the import of the scene.

Cora’s narration then adds to the mystery and immediately tells me how critical character is to the tale, for she represents another persona.  It is “folksy” and informative, but it also is clearly faith-driven: “The eternal and everlasting salvation and graces is not upon her” (8).  All the early narrators also use language, as above, that presents the South and the country in directness and lazy grammar.  I have the sense that, important character differences aside, these are all people of a specific “tribe” or culture, a sense enhanced by Cora’s emphasis on religion.  As the narratives switch out, I try to gain an understanding of the coffin and the death, but Faulkner eases me into this.  If I am uncertain at first as to what is actually going on and why, he gives me reason to trust in the story’s unfolding.  Not long into it, for example, Cora resumes her narrative and adds needed dimension. She fleshes out the story, and conveys the relationships and characters of  Darl and Jewel (21).   What is happening, then, is that I feel as if I am in the middle of a family circle, in which the truth will be revealed in pieces as I come to trust or mistrust the varying tellers of the tale.

Works Cited

Faulkner, W.  As I Lay Dying.  New York: Random House, 2011.  Print.

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