As I Lay Dying Essay example

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As I Lay Dying In "As I Lay Dying" William Faulkner uses multiple points of view to explore the theme of existence as a motionless and meaningless cycle. The cycle is motionless because it is inescapable and unchangeable. One can never leave the cycle of life and death. People perpetuate the cycle by creating life, but in creating life they are creating death, for life irrevocably leads to death. Faulkner depicts existence as meaningless. Nothing really changes in the story. On the surface the characters appear to change, such as Addie dying, Darl going crazy and Anse getting a new wife, but none of these changes are really as relevant as they seem.

By using multiple points of view Faulkner lets us into each character’s mind. We …show more content…

With life comes the unmistakable knowledge that death will eventually follow. People live their entire lives knowing that ultimately all they have to look forward to is death. This makes life meaningless, since it will all be forgotten with one’s death. Granted, this view could be challenged by people who believe in an afterlife, but the only two really religious people in "As I Lay Dying," Cora and Whitfield, are portrayed as somewhat stupid and insincere. So Faulkner apparently wants us to think that life is meaningless. For the characters in his story, life is certainly meaningless.

Addie describes the meaninglessness of life when she talks about words. "...words are no good; that words don’t ever fit even what they are trying to say at" (504). If words are meaningless, then how can life have meaning, since words are humanity’s livelihood? Words are what allow communication, and communication is what gives life meaning. Without communication life is devoid of all social aspects, and humans are social creatures. Addie realizes the meaninglessness of life, and she knows that she is caught up in the cycle of life and death, and that there is no escape form it. She knows that she brought her children into the same cycle that she herself is in, and that they too will live empty lives only to die.

Dewey Dell’s situation is an example of how the cycle of existence is perpetuated, even against her will.

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