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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Faulkner: As I Lay Dying

As I Lay DyingAs I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Faulker is a strange one. He really is. Honestly, I can see why people don't get him. He's hard and no one wants to read hard things, at least hard things that make no god damn sense.

Here's the thing: Faulkner makes sense. Perfect sense.

First, I think we should talk about this darn "Stream-of-Conscious" term that gets thrown at the old man. Now, you've got people like Joyce that, if you ask me, write whatever the hell comes out of there head and pass it off as meaningful. Of course, when we talk about about stream-of-conscious we are usually going to see talks about "death of the author" being brought up.

Basically, it doesn't matter what the author meant because we each bring our own tools to the table and get whatever out of it. Stream of conscious, then, is the purest way with which we can apply this collegiate term.

But however interesting and fun and right talking about "death of the author" is in relation to "stream of conscious," it's also the easy way out here.

So, anyway, does Faulkner use this stream of conscious thing? A little. He uses it so we can better get into the heads of the characters. But he also writes outside of that, inserting his own narrative voice into the fray.

Of course, his sparse punctuation and his constant switching between the 10 cent word and the 25 cent word can sure make things hard. However, this helps a little. In some ways he is being comical, I mean, things literally could not be worse for this family. The mom dies at the hottest point in summer after a fucking monsoon and then the cheap-ass father decides to walk 40 miles to fulfill her dying wish, all the while she starts to stink.

It's a play on Greek Tragedy.

Anyway, this story is tragic and comic. It has moments where you can really feel the sadness of passing, the pain that comes when a loved one dies. Then there are other times when Faulkner messes with you, black humor style.

Sure, this is a great book, but don't take it so seriously just because it is so well loved. Remember, the best authors have a sense of humor. Even if it is a little off-beat.

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