Using tutorial work from this week as a starting point, choose any passage from As I Lay Dying and analyse how the language shows the distinctiveness of the character and reveals the purpose of Faulkner’s writing.
Throughout As I lay Dying, Faulkner uses a range of voices and styles in order to show distinctiveness of the character, successfully portraying each character as uniquely individual. In doing this, Faulkner is able to bring his characters to life, showing the story in a range of viewpoints and ensuring that almost everyone is able to be drawn to a character within the story.
This differentiation between characters stood out to me most when looking at Cash and Vardaman. This differentiation is most clearly seen when Cash is making his mothers coffin. “I made it on the bevel. 1. There is more surface for the nails to grip. 2. There is twice the gripping surface to each seam. 3. The water will seep into it on a slant. Water moves easiest up and down or straight across.” This portrayal of Cash is methodical and mathematical. It portrays him to be structured and organised while Vardaman is portrayed to be the opposite; simplistic and often illogical; “my mother is a fish”.
Tull is also portrayed differently to that of Cash and Vardaman. Tull tells the story in past-tense, with a lot of repetition of what everyone else says. “It was ten oclock when I got back, with Peabody’s team hitched to the back of the wagon”… “‘He better go on and bury her at New Hope’ Armstid said. ‘That bridge is old, I wouldn’t monkey with it.’ ‘His mind is set on taking her to Jefferson’ Quick said. ‘Then he better get at it as soon as he can’ Armstid said.” This demonstrates that Tull has more of a personality that leads him to sit back and reflect on what everyone else is saying rather than playing his own part.
This different way of speaking and looking at the situation at hand varies with each personality, allowing Faulkner to create a number of different characters with individual personalities. In doing this, Faulkner is successfully able to portray human connection between different characters and the ways in which they interact with one another.