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Lecture 27

ENG328Y1 Lecture 27: Lecture 27
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Department
English
Course Code
ENG328Y1
Professor
Greig Henderson

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What is life? What is sanity? What is truth? Etc.
Meaning is deliberately withheld, reality is twisted
Vague references
Readers must participate in the search for truth
Reader is compelled to be the writer
Must actively engage
§
Everything conspires to further the illusiveness of truth, the
problematics of self-definition
Associate Darl with flexibility and logic
Jewel is the opposite with masculine rigidity and passion
Rationality and clarity of vision is slowly dissolved
Darl could be a Southern version of a Woolfian character
Cora sees herself as a submissive woman, a good neighbour, etc.
Portrayed in a semi-sympathetic light
Fond of paralepsis - feigned omission
Darl obsessed with being a nothingness
Dewey-Dell - affinity with Addie, an inarticulate Addie
Peabody, another impartial narrator
Nihilists say it's the end…
One of the things that happens early on is the account of Addie's death
Darl recounts it, but him and Jewel aren't even there
His account is prophetically rendered even though the brothers are
making a delivery elsewhere
Discursively convenient - perceptive narrator in tune with the family
Even Jewell's oedipal passion is too strong to allow him too
§
Darl's intimate grasp of his family's reality is displayed
He's impartial in a way because he has no affect for his mother
whatsoever
No emotional outburst on his part
§
Vardaman as an incipient Darl with his obsession with is and was
Associates his mother's confinement with the fish
Tull offering a more pragmatic solution than Christianity
'I be durn if it didn't give me the creeps…'
Recognises the limitations of Cora
'I reckon I'm blessed to have a wife that ever strives for sanctity'
'If nothing but being married will help a man, I say he's darn near
hopeless'
Looks at everything from the view of a carpenter - Cash
All of the characters' thoughts seem to be in dialogue with each other
Vardaman and Darl, Dewey-Dell and Addie, etc.
Cora sees Vardaman's boring holes into Addie's face as a judgement on Anse
Darl sees the absurdity of the burial quest with his mother's body at his feet,
laughs uncontrollably
Jewel and his horse shows the guilty complicity with his mother
Darl is aware of Addie's deceit
Cora - pg. 166
'She had never been pure religious…'
Addie is completely upfront about it
Prophesied that Jewell will be her salvation
She has her own longings and desires that are just exacerbated
Sense of impotency aggravated
Addie's sexual frustration in the Spring
Sex with Anse is not fulfilling
'I knew that living was terrible…words are no good… fear was invented
by someone who never had the fear, cry by someone who never had a
cry… my aloneness… had never been violated before Cash'
'love… just a shape to fill a gap'
'Why are you Anse… see the shape as a vessel…'
Extramarital affair with a minister is a sin that is more than a word, a
kind of a deed
Does this linguistic nihilism reflect the novel as a whole?
Enormity - something with a moral, not something very big
Darl's increasingly disintegrating perspective and knowledge of Jewel's
heritage
Pg. 232 - knows somehow that Darl set fire to it
Actually it was Dewey-Dell
Cash goes into a philosophical meditation - none of us pure crazy and
none of us pure sane
Ain't so much what a fella does, more the way the majority of
folks is looking at him when he does it
§
Moving some sort of sanity in what Darl does, but ultimately grounded
in conventional morality
By the end, Darl has totally lost it - referring to himself in the third person and
rocking
Anse's version of returning is new teeth and a new wife
Vardaman's found his celestial being - eating bananas
Dewey-Dell didn't get the abortion she wanted
To be born is to start dying - swaddling cloth is like a widening sheet
Demonstrates how language is often an insufficient container for meaning
'words become hollow, airy…' - Darl
Putting Addie in the ground is not an easy task
The reason for living is to get ready for staying dead a long time
She accepts death easily
In feeling resentment for her husband, she resents life
Bonds her schoolchildren in a sensual way
Whips them - mark your blood with my own
Her sense of being depends on physical pain
Emptying of her womb is like affirming death
Word representing Anse is empty, just a shape to fill a lack
Pain that gives Addie this intuitive grasp of life and death
Anse doesn't acknowledge pain
Dewey-Dell understands the sensual aspect of reality
She is immature, her pregnancy is just beginning to develop
She does not think of herself as a container, rather the contained
Quest for abortion is for her search to not be a container
Cannot even process her mother's death - 'I wish I had time to let her
die'
Never uses the word pregnant, like coffin
Communicates the unreality of DD's pregnancy by putting it figuratively
Unspoken coffin is like the unfinished 'the lord giveth'
DD goes to procure her abortion by taking 'something'
Vardaman's image of his mother as a fish, the only dead thing he knows, is
confused by his family eating the fish
Calls his mother 'not fish' - talking around things
196 - Cash is my brother, Jewell's mother is a horse… my mother does
not smell like that, my mother is a fish'
250 - Darl went to Jackson, lots of people didn't go to Jackson… Darl is
my brother, Darl went crazy'
Realistic representation of how a small child would react to something
incomprehensible
Absence of bridges in the novel represents the absence of logic, language and
metaphorical bridges
Darl like Addie seems to understand death in a visionary way
Intuits his mother's death and his sister's pregnancy
The journey just ends there's not teliological satisfaction
No one but Anse gets anything he/she wanted
Trying to define the relationship between themselves and their mother
But all of her affection was for Cash and Jewell
Bundren family merely plows onward
Mulishly relentless
Cannot possibly reach Darl's level of understanding, which leads to the
asylum
Somewhat anticlimactic
Lecture 27
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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Description
Lecture 27 Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1:11 PM What is life? What is sanity? What is truth? Etc. Meaning is deliberately withheld, reality is twisted Vague references Readers must participate in the search for truth Reader is compelled to be the writer Must actively engage Everything conspires to further the illusiveness of truth, the problematics of selfdefinition Associate Darl with flexibility and logic Jewel is the opposite with masculine rigidity and passion Rationality and clarity of vision is slowly dissolved Darl could be a Southern version of a Woolfian character Cora sees herself as a submissive woman, a good neighbour, etc. Portrayed in a semisympathetic light Fond of paralepsis feigned omission Darl obsessed with being a nothingness DeweyDell affinity with Addie, an inarticulate Addie Peabody, another impartial narrator Nihilists say its the end One of the things that happens early on is the account of Addies death Darl recounts it, but him and Jewel arent even there His account is prophetically rendered even though the brothers are making a delivery elsewhere Discursively convenient perceptive narrator in tune with the family Even Jewells oedipal passion is too strong to allow him too Darls intimate grasp of his familys reality is displayed Hes impartial in a way because he has no affect for his mother whatsoever No emotional outburst on his part Vardaman as an incipient Darl with his obsession with is and was Associates his mothers confinement with the fish Tull offering a more pragmatic solution than Christianity I be durn if it didnt give me the creeps Recognises the limitations of Cora I reckon Im blessed to have a wife that ever strives for sanctity If nothing but being married will help a man, I say hes darn near hopeless
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