The Theme Of Death In Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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One of the few things that are certain in life is that it eventually comes to an end, and this is a constant truth which applies to every person from every corner of the earth. Therefore, it is only natural that most authors have used the theme of death in their literary works. Beowulf’s heroic sacrifice, Hamlet’s philosophic pondering on the after-world, Poe’s attraction to the ominous and mysterious side of un-being, all show different aspects of this multi-faceted subject. In Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”, death itself can be considered to be the protagonist, and even in the mind of a child, Vardaman, who cannot fully understand it yet, it remains an obsessive and haunting thought. The youngest of the Bundren children, Vardaman is at the age when the world abounds in new experiences and things to discover. He is an “observant child” (Fargnoli, Golay 52), overflowing with energy and watching the events unfold “big eyed […], like he was to a circus” (Faulkner). However, his attention revolved around his mother and her death – and this brought to his attention one of the most terrifying dilemmas oh humankind. It is much easier to learn about things that exist in the world than try to understand what non-existing means, what is the explanation and purpose of being alive one moment and dying in the next one. Vardaman’s experience of his mother’s death…show more content…
He repeated the words death, fish and mother so many times that they became synonyms. For him, “the death (“it”) and the fish (“it”) are inextricable” (Godden 101), and they become one with the mother, since the web of life and death is ever tangled in his mind and if there was ever a border between the two, now it was always shifting (“then it wasn’t and she was, and now it is and she wasn’t” –

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