As I Lay Dying Essay

1414 WordsJan 8, 20156 Pages
Addie’s Thoughts about Words and Their Usage in As I Lay Dying Today the term “feminist” comes with a negative connotation and the wrong perception of shared beliefs such as “women are better than men,” or “feminism is about being victimized,” or “feminism is anti-motherhood.” Unfortunately, to the Southern Poverty Law Center, some sects of feminism are considered hate groups when, in actuality, they should be the total opposite. Feminists should be seen as believing in gender equality and equal opportunity. In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying we are shown his portrayal of women and gender politics of the south in the 1930’s. The main character, Addie, provides the plot and premise and series of events in the story, which is interesting considering she is a corpse for a majority of it. This said, Addie’s approach to language in the one chapter of her voice reveals her attempt to escape her suppression: as a “woman”, Addie cannot help but fall into the traps of “wife” and “mother”, and their associated duties. Addie ascribes no value to words; they are nothing more than dead sounds. And despite her claim that words are “quick and harmless”, she is tricked by them, and relies on them to take her revenge on Anse. While the word “sin” means nothing to Addie, she is nevertheless consumed by the idea of Sin. How ironic for the reader to decipher a chapter of words when Addie says they are empty shapes. Why Faulkner does this is so that the reader must stop after reading the shapes and interpret their meanings based on the reader’s own belief. He does not want everyone to read his work and think the same thing. By providing merely shapes, the reader can interpret the chapter and book anyway they want to. A majority of the chapter focuses on Addie’s contemplation on the insufficiency of language. “Words are no good;… words don’t ever fit what they are trying

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