As I Lay DyingBitter or Triumphant?
We talked briefly on if this book was bitter or a triumphant novel in the end. I can definitely see both sides, but without really thinking about it, I would say this is a bitter novel. I decided to think on this idea of how it was a triumphant novel for my reading journal.
When I look the many ways human nature is portrayed, I could say this was a successful book. Faulkner made it really easy for the reader to see mankind as just cruel based on how everyone in the family seemed to have ulterior motives and how they treated Addie. But on the opposite side, I think this book was also able to show the dynamics of a family bond. Although it was a very extreme family, the connect between certain characters was very interesting for example, Darl with everyone. Darl taunted both Jewel and Dewey Dell a lot and I thought Darl had relationships with a lot of tension. Because of this the act of him being taken to Jackson wasn't seen as something the family did against him, but more as something they were doing to stop this negativity in the family.
Ulterior motives was a theme that definitely changed how I read this book. They didn't really stand out to me because I was so confused with how everyones perspectives worked in the book, but after I saw them, I related it to the question if this was a bitter or triumphant novel. Even though I really want to see it as triumphant, because of all the ulterior motives in the book, I cant get myself to get over how bitter it is. The use of ulterior motives shows how everyone is only looking out for themselves in life and that in general, humans only do things to benefit ones self.
List of ulterior motives-
Dewey Dell: abortion
Vardaman: toy train
I also think its interesting that the one family member that doesn't have a ulterior motive of going to town is Darl. This is ironic because Darl gets taken to a mental institution at the end the book. When they are finally burring Addie, he is taken away. This is ironic because even thought Darl wasn't one of Addies favorite children, I think his love for her may have been the most truthful. He was always yearning to be love by her but never got it.
As I Lay Dying Movie Response:
The movie was extremely dramatic; it was almost comical to me. The whole family was crazy at to a whole new level than the book. It was hard for me to watch because of how all the characters talked and how horrible some of the scenes were. Especially when they cut off Cash’s leg. I could barely watch and I would have been so lost if I hadn’t read the book. Most of the movie was split screen and I didn’t really like it. I get why Franco decided to do it, but I thought it took away from the story.
A lot of the scenes in the movie were interpreted differently than I had in the book. I wouldn’t say Franco portrayed them wrong, just different. The first time I noticed this was when Darl and Jewel went to get wood because it meant $3. In the movie, Jewel seemed like he was fine going to get the wood for the three dollars. In the book, I interpreted it as Darl was the one that wanted to go and Jewel was forced to help him. Darl knows Addie will be dead by the time they get back, but Jewel seems to think they will make it back in time. In the book, I thought Jewel knew Addie was going to die, but he was still forced to go.
On thing I thought the book portrayed very well was how Darl would taunt Jewel and Dewey Dell. Darl taunted Jewel about not fitting in the family and Dewey Dell about being pregnant. I didn’t really notice it much in the book until was talked about it in class, but I thought it was a really important detail in the movie and added to the relationships between Darl had with his siblings. I also thought the movie intensified the relationships Darl had with all the characters. For example, Darl held Vardamans hand while they walked behind the wagon and before he got taken to Jackson, he gave Vardaman a loving goodbye hug. This affection between then wasn’t a big thing in the book for me.
Another scene that was interesting to me was, when Anse has is moment with Addie after she dies. He says the line about getting his teeth, but it seemed like saying he could get his teeth was a way of coping with Addies death instead of something rude to say after he died. The movie made it a lot sadder for me. In the book, I thought Anse was heartless and move on from her death the instant she was gone, but the movie portrayed this differently and I liked its interpretation better.
The movie also made me think about the reason Addie was buried in her wedding dress. It made me think more that it was the nicest piece of clothing she owned. Anse says, “she loved that dress,” and the movie made me think less of a modern extravagant dress and more of a nice piece of clothing which was rare for the Bundren family.
The scene that was completely different from the book, was when Whitfield was at the house when everyone was there to say goodbye to Addie. In the book, Whitfield is traveling to confess his sin to Addie, but turns around because someone tells him Addie has already passed. I thought it was a good scene in the movie because it would have been hard to portray this important fact from the book in the movie without Whitfield making it to see Addie even though she had already passed.