Tag Archives: death

Free Heart

“‘Death alone can help that dog,’ cried the ribbon-seller, looking after it with a sigh. ‘What can we do with a creature who returns to his doom with such a free heart?'”

 

Narayan, R.K. “The Blond Dog.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print. pp 39

 

I find this passage extremely interesting where the ribbon-seller wants the dog so badly to live freely just as the dog’s heart as. It reminds us that all people return to “their doom” or their death at the end and not everyone deserves to do so so early. Why do those who do so many great things and are so free suffer the most?

Introduction of Characters

“I pass him and mount the path, beginning to hear Cash’s saw” “Addie Bundern could not want a better one, a better box to lie in.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: Random House. 1992. PRINT

The first introduction to these characters were originally given by Darl and it seemed as though they were being represented through objects. It is instantly clear that Cash is a carpenter, but what is more interesting is the way Addie is introduced. Before we even know anything about the character we learn that he is about to die. They are not given extravagant detail, but for Addie it’s more than enough.

Death: Neither End or Beginning

“I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind- and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: The Modern Library, 2000. Print.

Peabody stated this before Addie’s death. Peabody being an experienced medical doctor has come to conceptualize death in a highly non sympathetic fashion, calling it a “tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” Peabody views death as more of a transitional period for those close to the deceased, rather than placing it along with a feeling of finality or beginning. By doing this he is making death out to be a more social process than an emotionalized one.

Death and Perception

“I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind–and that of the minds of the ones who the suffer the bereavement.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. First Vintage International Edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.

Although the previous statement was made by a Doctor attending and treating a dying mother, does his words hold truth, thus, value? Claiming that death is simply a function of the mind may not be necessarily truth, due to the fact that causes of death such as respiratory failure, or failure of a essential organ has nothing to do with the mind itself, but a culmination of several physical issues that lead to the ultimate consequence. However, I do agree with the second claim of the doctor’s statement; loved ones of the deceased are the ones that may suffer the most mentally after the passing. And it is them that suffer the grievance of the process of letting the loved one go and attainment of peace and closure.

Death is a community experience?

“I can remember when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind — and that of the mind of the ones who suffer the bereavement.” (44)

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. First Vintage International Edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.

It seems to me that Peabody is saying that death is an experience of the people left behind, more so than the people who have actually died. If I’m interpreting this correctly, this would make sense as this communal experience appears to be a running theme of the novel.

Jewel: Mom and I

“If it had just been me when Cash fell off of that church and if it had just been me when pa laid sick with that load of wood fell on him, it would not be happening with every bastard in the country coming in to stare at her because if there is a God what the hell is He for. It would just be me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill faces and teeth and all by God until she was quiet and not that goddamn adze going One lick less. One lick less and we could be quiet”

Faulkner, William. “As I Lay Dying”. New York. The Modern Library Edition. 2000. p.15  Print.

This passage portrays the narration of Jewel, who seems to be especially more attached to his mother. He is bothered by the fact that Cash is making his mother’s coffin where she can “see” it. He does not want everyone to be with his mother and just wishes to be alone with her. Faulkner uses specific terms to portray his frustration and writes the sentence in ways to portray just how much he was attached to his mother.

Vardaman’s Understanding of Death

“My mother is a fish” (84).

Source:

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print.

This quotation refers to a poignant moment within Faulkner’s work.  Vardaman, the youngest of the children, compares his notion of his mother to a fish that died that day.  It demonstrates his confusion toward the concept of death in general and “death’s” constant  presence within the novel itself.

Time and Authority

“Shredding and slicing, dividing and subdividing, the clocks of Harley Street nibbled at the June day, counselled submission, upheld authority, and pointed out in chorus the supreme advantages of a sense of proportion, until the mound of time was so far diminished that a commercial clock, suspended above a shop in Oxford Street, announced, genially and fraternally, as if it were a pleasure to Messrs. Rigby and Lowndes to give the information gratis, that it was half-past one” (111).

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1997. Print.

The striking clocks in Mrs. Dalloway appear multiple times throughout the novel to allude to time as a controlling force as it “upheld authority.” As the people of London walk through expensive, aristocratic Harley Street, Woolf illustrates that all the people of London, despite which class they belong to, will eventually fall to the fate of time and temporality.

Hemingway’s Experience: Death

“‘Is dying hard, Daddy?’
‘No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.’
They were seated in the boat. Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.  In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing; he felt quite sure that he would never die.”

It seems as though writing from experience is a common technique for modern fiction writers.  Not only does Hemingway write from his war experience, but he isn’t afraid to include gore (Indian Camp).  Not only does Hemingway enhance the text with descriptive morbid scenes, but he contrasts the melancholy with a glimpse of optimism while tying in the dawn of a new day.

 

 

Life and Death

“Is dying hard, Daddy?” “No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.”

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. Print.

The conversation between the boy and his father was a compelling and moving moment in the short story, “Indian Camp.” After witnessing the death and suicide of an Indian Man, the son asks his father if death is hard, and his response was vague, but profound. Death is easy but life is difficult. I believe that was what the Doctor was trying to explain to his son. It is more challenging and arduous to face your problems and fears and overcoming them than it is to simply just quit or run away.  The brief conversation between the pair I believe was what made the short narrative something special.