As I Lay Dying Themes

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As I Lay Dying: The Oprah Book Club Lectures by Robert W. Hamblin In 2005 Professor Hamblin led the Oprah Book Club's online discussions of As I Lay Dying for Oprah Winfrey's "Summer of Faulkner." Those discussions included a number of video-taped mini-lectures on the characters, themes, structure, and context of the novel. Teaching Faulkner is pleased to offer the transcribed texts of those lectures to our readers. Autobiographical Elements Almost all writers incorporate their own personal experiences into their work, though it would be a huge mistake ever to argue for a direct correlation between an author and a character. The Hemingway hero is not Ernest Hemingway, though Hemingway's protagonists clearly have a great deal…show more content…
It's a term that may also be used to describe Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, a novel that is essentially tragic but at the same time is also one of the most humorous books Faulkner ever wrote. A list of the funniest lines in this novel would certainly include the following: Jewel: "because if there is a God what the hell is He for” (15). Anse: "God's will be done. Now I can get them teeth” (51). Tull: "I think that if nothing but being married will help a man, he's durn nigh hopeless” (68). Vardaman: "My mother is a fish” (79). Cash, explaining how far he fell off the church: "Twenty-eight foot, four and a half inches, about” (85). Darl, on Jewel's suspected lover: "She's sure a stayer. I used to admire her, but I downright respect her now” (126). Addie, on Cora's self-righteous arrogance: "Like Cora, who could never even cook” (166). Armstid: "A man aint so different from a horse or a mule, come long come short, except a mule or a horse has got a little more sense” (176). MacGowan, to his fellow clerk when Dewey Dell enters the store: "I'm going into conference” (233). Consider also the following descriptions: Of Jewel, exhausted from working around the clock, falling asleep while milking the cow, "his hands up to his wrists in the milk and his head against the cow's flank” (122); and at the table, "going to sleep in his plate, with a piece of bread halfway to his mouth and his jaws still chewing” (123). Of Anse, who "looks like a figure carved clumsily from tough wood by a drunken caricaturist” (156). Of Cash, after he has fainted from the pain of his broken leg: "with big balls of sweat standing on his face like they had started to roll down and then stopped to wait for him” (177). Of the young Mack Gillespie: "his eyes and mouth three round holes in his face on which the freckles look like English peas on

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