Lecture 14 - Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, Part II
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014, recorded: November 2011, views: 1364
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Professor Wai Chee Dimock traces Faulkner’s appropriation of the epic genre through two conventions: the blurring of boundaries between humans and non-humans and the resurrection of the dead. She first reads Faulkner’s minor character Tull and his relation to both mules and buzzards to draw out the “nature of manhood in poor whites.” From Tull, she shifts focus to Jewel and suggests that his kinship with the snake and the horse foregrounds the narrative secrecy of Jewel’s genealogy. As Addie Bundren’s monologue reveals, Jewel’s illegitimate father, the Reverend Whitfield, is similarly identified with both the horse, as the animal he rides, and the snake, whose Edenic behavior he parallels in his affair with Addie.
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