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Answer in detail to the following questions:

1. Select a character (Jewel, Darl, or Anse) and compare and contrast the ways in which he is described by other narrators who talk about him.

2. Nature plays as vital a part in many stories and poems as the characters do. As I Lay Dying relies a great deal on Nature and her forces to move the story line along. What universal natural symbols does Faulkner rely on and how does he incorporate them into the action of the novel?

3. Faulkner’s use of multiple narrators underscores one of his primary themes: every character is essentially isolated from the others. Moreover, the characters in the novel do not communicate effectively with one another. Although the reader is privy to the characters’ thoughts and emotional responses, none of the characters adequately express their dilemmas or desires to others. Examine the theme of alienation and loneliness in As I Lay Dying.

4. Explore the way Faulkner treats religious beliefs and hypocrisy in As I Lay Dying. Include a discussion of the beliefs and practices of Addie, Cora, and Rev. Whitfield, as well as any other characters you would like to connect from the novel.

5. In what ways is the novel realistic and in what ways is it symbolic? Apply Faulkner’s stated connection to The Odyssey and the roundabout journey and his use of narrative voices.

6. Are the Bundrens innocent victims of hardship and tragedy or do they bring their hardships upon themselves? Give evidence from the novel to support your position.

7. Describe Addie’s feelings about words. How does she relate to her family, to her students, and to God?

8. Apply what you have learned about William Faulkner from reading his stories “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning,” and his novel As I Lay Dyin,g and offer your evaluation of him as a writer and his place in fiction.

9. In what ways does Darl have visionary powers? What does this mean in light of our discussion about the literary tradition of the insane or retarded literary character? What does this mean in light of what happens to Darl at the end of the novel. How do you feel about what happened to him?

10. Discuss the various motives that each family member has for wanting to go to Jefferson to bury Addie.

11. Refer to Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech printed below, and in a well-developed essay, analyze Faulkner’s philosophy of the writer’s role and purpose and relate it to his novel As I Lay Dying.


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