ENL44 Lecture Notes Weeks 1 & 2 (As I Lay Dying), Plus Bonus Lecture from Week 3! (Beloved)

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ENL 44
Alexis Cattivera

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MWF ENL44 1:10-2:00 Alexis Cattivera 1/6 – Syllabus, Introduction 1/8 – As I Lay Dying 3-20, Clarify Structure/Characters I. As I Lay Dying A. Structure 1. Chapter titles are names, jumps around in time a. experience of time is not linear – past and present merge “simultaneous time/temporalities” B. Characters 1. The Bundrens: Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, Anse, Addie, Cash, Vardaman a. Burden, jewel is favored, cash makes money 2. Cora, (Vernon) Tull, Whitfield, Armstid, Peabody, Samson, MacGowan, and Moseley 3. Darl begins novel, Cash finishes a. Why? 4. Vardaman matures as the novel progresses, narrates more 5. Why does AILD use 15 narrators? How is Faulkner using them to critique the very act of narrating an even with only one narrator? C. Techniques 1. Stream of consciousness, interior monologue a. goes along with simultaneous time, ideas bouncing around in head, repetitive b. renders the subjective, continuous and disorganized mental stream of thought, emotions, and sensory impressions of one or more characters. c. free association rather than logic or linguistic rules, it’s fragmented, illogical, incoherent d. Darl drinking from the water gourd (10) i. three paragraphs before getting back to dialogue e. Dewey Dell (26-27) i. “And” to begin sentences, improper grammar “dassent”  doesn’t D. Setting 1. Made-up county based on hometown Lafayette MS (Northern Mississippi) – Yoknapatawpha County 2. Late 1920s, before Great Depression, after WW1 3. Poor, rural farm family 4. Ends in Jefferson, MS E. The Bundren Family 1. Darl (26-28) a. Sophisticated words, eloquent b. Most logical, tells story in most direct, descriptive way (3-4) 1 MWF ENL44 1:10-2:00 Alexis Cattivera c. Accepts that Addie is dying versus Jewel’s denial, lack of emotion d. Obsessed with Jewel – why? 2. Jewel (19) a. Different than the rest of the children, “a full head above my own” (3) i. disconnect with other siblings b. Cusses at others c. Displaced anger from the death, denial  loves mother d. Wants to be alone with his mother (14-15) e. Horse – furious devotion, violent affection (12) f. “wooden”- 4, 17, 18 i. Addie in coffin ii. Inaccessibility to readers 3. Cash (28-30) a. “It’s like when he was a little boy and she says if she had some fertilizer she would try to raise some flowers and he taken the bread pan and brought it back from the barn full of dung” (14) b. Carpenter c. Compliant 4. Anse (middle aged) a. Southern stereotype b. “feet badly splayed” (11) 5. Addie (middle aged) a. Cora judges vanity harshly 6. Dewey Dell (17) 7. Vardaman (7-10) 1/10 – Chat room responses, first one due next Thursday, in class writing I. As I Lay Dying A. Travel Narrative – a classical QUEST 1. Like The Grapes of Wrath, The Road 2. Begins with a quester(s) who is in need of something or someone 3. Face difficulties along journey 4. Often circular: return to the point of departure after he/she has achieved his/her goal B. Shared quest – burying Addie in Jefferson 1. Dewey Dell’s mission – wants an abortion 2. Anse – wants dentures and a wife 3. Vardaman – wants bananas, to see toy train in the store 4. Cash – wants a graphaphone (saved $5) 5. Darl and Jewel’s only goal is to bury Addie C. Addie’s body has been desecrated by the characters – face down in the coffin, rotting, face has holes because of Vardman 2 MWF ENL44 1:10-2:00 Alexis Cattivera 1. What does this mean? D. In Class Writing 1. Discrepancy in Narration: is it possible to know the truth? Cora: Tull “said Darl almost begged them on his knees not to force him to leave her in her condition. But nothing would do but Anse and Jewel must make that three dollars” (21-22). Darl: “’It means three dollars,’ I say. ‘Do you want us to go, or not?’ Pa rubs his knees. ‘We’ll be back tomorrow sundown’” (17-19). 2. Why is Darl a good narrator? a. Omniscient, telepathic? (27), sees the future (knows about Jewel) (51) b. Knows Addie is dead (49) c. Always observing, attached analytic observer “He’s got his eyes full of the land all the time” (36) d. Good language (40) 3. 3 responses Vardaman has had to his mother’s death a. Private grieving b. My mother is a fish c. Blames Peabody 1/13 – Video of coffin in lake I. As I Lay Dying A. Two major events 1. The Bundrens cross the river 2. Addie speaks B. Movie VS. Book 1. Cash’s tools are a sacrifice in the book, seems trivialized in the movie C. In what ways does the quest reach epic or heroic status during the river crossing? 1. The River Styx is a Greek allusion 2. They all (except Anse) make sacrifices or efforts to get Addie buried 3. Darl’s description of the river a. (141-142, 147) apocalyptic, desolation 4. Jewel becomes a Christ-like hero, saves Addie after death (167) D. Addie 1. Chapter comes after she’s dead and the river has been crossed a. The point of no return, Addie can reveal her secrets 2. Between Cora and Whitfield a. Condemnation vs. salvation 3. Violence 1. (170, 172-176) E. Religion 1. Cora is blinded by it, follows literal interpretation 2. Addie (176) does not approach it with language 3 MWF ENL44 1:10-2:00 Alexis Cattivera 3. Whitfield (179) is all talk no action, considers himself above the religion, exploits it for his benefit (can cross the river safely while Bundrens cannot) hypocrite F. Character Development rd 1. 105-106 Darl laughs, mental decline, speaks in 3 person (137) 2. Vardaman helps Tull cross the river 3. Cash and Darl telecommunicate like Dewey Dell and Darl 4. Dewey Dell has grown resentful of men 1/15 – Chatroom due tomorrow by 7 PM, Darl and Jewel, character development I. As I Lay Dying A. Review of Monday’s reading 1. Why does Addie prefer Jewel? a. Jewel was a result of a choice to be with Whitfield versus obligation to Anse i. (174) bloodpassion B. Character Development 1. Anse got married and got his teeth 2. Cash loses leg 3. Dewey Dell does not get an abortion 4. Vardaman gets bananas C. Darl’s insanity 1. Begins to speak in third person, is detached from his own character a. schizophrenia, becomes siblings, Darl, and I 2. Laughs in inappropriate situation 3. Has always been insane, was not mentally strong enough to deal with the death of Mother 4. Burning of the barn a. Trying to end the suffering of the Bundrens and Addie’s corpse b. Not exactly insanity, just a conflicted decision and then destroys a barn 5. (212) Hears Addie speaking from the coffin, reason for the burning of the barn 6. Cause of insanity a. The family’s betrayal by sending him to an insane asylum (esp Cash) b. The emotional brunt of everyone’s complex relationships falls on him i. No way to process, but truly cares, therefore goes crazy c. The family hates him for knowing everything, want to cast him out d. Darl’s coping mechanism was avoidance, isn’t effective i. Jewel’s is anger, Anse has desire for new wife, Dewey Dell wants an abortion, Cash’s is work ii. (225) only emotion other than laughing, he is crying about the barn 4 MWF ENL44 1:10-2:00 Alexis Cattivera 7. Reactions to being sent to a mental hospital a. Dewey Dell i. (237) Attacks Darl, which surprises Cash ii. Always uncomfortable with Darl knowing secret b. Jewel i. Wants him to be killed, very protective of Addie’s coffin c. Cash i. Thinks it is what is necessary, saves Darl from judgment and this world 1/17 – “A Good Man is Hard to Find”-family road trip from hell “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”- forced relocations of Native Americans , I. Southern Gothic (Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner) A. Uniquely Southern setting: isolated plantations, small towns or cities, etc. B. Mentally, emotionally, and/or physically damaged characters
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