Lecture 13 - Faulkner's As I Lay Dying
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014, recorded: November 2011, views: 1491
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Professor Wai Chee Dimock begins her discussion of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying by orienting the novel to the Great Depression in the South, as focalized through such famous texts as Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Once this macro history is established, she reads the narrative techniques of As I Lay Dying through two analytic lenses. First, she draws on Bakhtin’s notion of social dialects to underscore the language that indexes poor whites as a Southern type. Second, she marshals Frank Kermode’s idea of narrative secrecy to show how two secrets in As I Lay Dying--Dewey Dell’s illegitimate pregnancy and Jewel’s illegitimate birth--are gradually revealed to the reader through Faulkner’s multiple narrators, each a speaker of a socially codified dialect, and each a practitioner of narrative secrecy in his or her own right.
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