As I Lay Dying Essay

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Sexual Identity of Addie Bundren in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying Ryan Preece English 101 12/5/2013 Sexual Identity of Addie Bundren in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying A person's identity is the essence of who he/she really is; it’s a glimpse into a person’s soul. “We define sexual orientation to include these aspects – sexual attraction and sexual behavior – as well as sexual identity, romantic attractions and behaviors, membership in sexual communities”(Grollman). Addie Bundren, the protagonist in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, is a very misunderstood woman living in the early 20th century. During that time, a woman is used as a vessel to have babies and nothing else. “Anse is childlike, completely self-centered like the children in Addie's school, seeing everything in terms of his own well-being, completely unaware of Addie's Preece 2 needs. To Anse, she is no more than a strong pack-horse” (Alldredge). Addie does not wish for this to be her only purpose in her existence. Addie wants to be more than what society expects her to be, more than just a mother. She does not care how others view her; she just wants a better view of herself. Addie’s point of view on life is “the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time” (169). Throughout the novel, she despises Anse so much that she has an affair with a preacher named Whitfield to prove a point to Anse. Addie once says, "He did not know that he was dead” (173). She means that he is dead to her. Even in death, she refuses to be viewed as just another woman to Anse and her children. In the beginning, Addie’s identity is clouded; she does not know what she wants in life until she has her first child with Anse. Addie finds out that she is getting used as a child bearer and she says, “I knew that it had been, not that my aloneness had to be violated over and over each

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