Tag Archives: william faulkner

Overhead to in Their Head

Heart of Darkness (1899) focused on imperialism and how it affects life in Africa through the perspective of Charles Marlow. In the story, most of the conflict was reflected externally and viewed through a narrator who had strong emotions towards the events but no lacked in focus on how it affected him, psychologically. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) marks a turn as even though everything is in third-person, the narration focuses on Stephen and both his internal and external conflicts as he grows up. This conflict even spills into the third-person narratives on many occasions. The progression that I have noticed is that the focus of the narrative started with a wider picture, where the narrator is not mentally attached to the story. Joyce’s novel marks a turn where character’s thoughts affect the delivery of the narration. This turn leads to novels like As I Lay Dying (1930) and Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937.) Both stories matter entirely because of the narrator. Faulkner’s novel is delivered with the focus on individual characters and how their thoughts directly affect their narrative. Hurston, on the other hand, still had a third-person perspective, for the most part, but the story was still Janie’s. Every emotion that she felt, whether conflicting or not, is there to be heard. As time progresses, the stories go from character driven to being the characters.

Delays and implications

“It was then, and then I saw Darl and he knew. He said he knew without the words like he told me that ma is going to die without words, and I knew he knew because if he had said he knew with the  words I would not have believed that he had been there and saw us. But he said he did know and I said “Are you going to tell pa are you going to kill him?” without the words I said it and he said “Why?” without the words. And that’s why I can talk to him with knowing with hating because he knows.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: Modern Library. 2012. Print. pp. 24

Faulkner seems to often use delayed writing, along with slight implications to control the revelations of many things, revealing them gradually to the reader.

Change in Focalization

“It’s because he stays out there, right under the window, hammering and sawing on
that goddamn box. Where she’s got to see him. Where every breath she draws is
full of his knocking and sawing where she can see him saying See. See what a
good one I am making for you. ”

The first instance of a shift in focal points, from Darl to Jewel, gives the feeling that these characters are being interviewed.

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.

Repetition In Faulkner

“When they get it finished they are going to put her in it and then for a long time I couldn’t say it. I saw the dark stand up and go whirling away and I said ‘Are you going to nail her up in it, Cash? Cash? Cash?’ I got shut up in the crib the new door it was too heavy for me it went shut I couldn’t breathe because the rat was breathing up all the air. I said ‘Are you going to nail it shut, Cash? Nail it? Nail it?’” (Faulkner 65)

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

Faulkner uses repetition throughout the novel through many contexts. He first used repetition to emphasize the noise of the axe in the first chapter by stating, “Chuck, chuck, chuck” (Faulkner 5). However, in the above passage the use of repetition is present in the character’s personality through her impatient tone. Instead of pausing in the sentence continues on with a tone of implied haste as the character keeps emphasizing certain words.

“That’s what they mean by the love that passeth understanding: that pride, that furious desire to hide that abject nakedness which we bring here with us, carry with us into operating rooms,carry stubbornly and furiously with us into the earth again”.

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

When reading this passage I felt an overwhelming sense of passion, judgement, and love. The book itself is not moralistic but I felt this passage revealed a sense of values and a very consciousness of them always being aware of their values. They are carried everywhere and their lives can be interpreted by the values they carry with them.