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A Structuralist Analysis of As I Lay Dying

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on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of A Structuralist Analysis of As I Lay Dying

The Patterned Path:
A Structuralist Analysis of
As I Lay Dying

Faulkner uses patterns and repetition in a system of hierarchy to demonstrate the concept of a failed journey within a disjointed family.
Chapter Structure
Overall Format
The placement of different chapters/ points of view helps to point out the problematic narrators and the family issues.
Placement Creates Foils
Pattern of narrators back-to-back
Anse/ Darl
Tull/ Anse
Cash/ Darl
Broken Narration
Chapter placement creates confusion- adding to disjointed feeling within family
Darl- 19 chapters
Vardaman- 10 chapters
Barn scene- 7 chapters Darl/Vardaman
Bridge scene- told by several different perspectives
Dewey Dell's abortion attempt from different perspective
Narrator Relation to Family
More non-family narrators in beginning of novel (first impression)
Tull: 6 chapteres
Ironic Chapter Placement
Chapters directly after mother's death- Vardaman, Dewey Dell, Vardaman
"He could do so much for me if he just would." -58
Truth relative, conditional, and in flux
War showed no guiding spirit
"Unreliable narrator"
Experimentation with genre & form
"Stream of consciousness"
Elements of human culture must be understood in relation to an overarching system
Roland Barthes's Method:
Distributions: finding principles that govern a set
Integrations: finding relations between sets
Image Repetition
Word and image repetition shows poor family dynamics, the true intentions of the characters,

God and Lord are used frequently for a non-religious family

Saw Imagery
Cora: "It sounds like snoring"(9)
Peabody: "Cash's saw snores steadily"(45)
Darl: "The saw begins to snore again"(49)
Vardaman: "The saw sounds like it is asleep"(63)

Addie Metaphors
Jewel's Horse
Vardaman's Fish
Jewel- 331
Cash- 264
Darl- 208
Anse- 143
Dewey Dell- 123
Vardaman- 72
Cora- 51
Tull- 42
Addie- 32

Addie- 32
fish- 33
horse- 153
mules- 39
wagon- 136
saw- 110
town- 43



Faulkner's use of atypical structure is very characteristic of Modernism and shows family issues and a failed quest.
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