Dictionary and translator for handheld
New : sensagent is now available on your handheld
A windows (pop-into) of information (full-content of Sensagent) triggered by double-clicking any word on your webpage. Give contextual explanation and translation from your sites !
With a SensagentBox, visitors to your site can access reliable information on over 5 million pages provided by Sensagent.com. Choose the design that fits your site.
Improve your site content
Add new content to your site from Sensagent by XML.
Crawl products or adds
Get XML access to reach the best products.
Index images and define metadata
Get XML access to fix the meaning of your metadata.
Please, email us to describe your idea.
Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
Change the target language to find translations.
Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more.
|As I Lay Dying|
First edition cover
|Genre(s)||Modernist novel, Southern Gothic, black comedy|
As I Lay Dying is a novel by the American author William Faulkner. He claimed to have written the novel in six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. Faulkner wrote it while working at a power plant, published it in 1930, and described it as a "tour-de-force." It is Faulkner's fifth novel and consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer's The Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon speaks to Odysseus: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."
The novel is known for its stream of consciousness writing technique, multiple narrators, and varying chapter lengths.
The book is narrated by 15 different characters over 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest and motivations—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson.
As is the case in much of Faulkner's work, the story is set in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, which Faulkner referred to as "my apocryphal county," a fictional rendition of the writer's home of Lafayette County in that same state.
Addie Bundren, the wife of Anse Bundren and the matriarch of a poor southern family, is very ill, and is expected to die soon. Her oldest son, Cash, puts all of his carpentry skills into preparing her coffin, which he builds right in front of Addie’s bedroom window. Although Addie’s health is failing rapidly, two of her other sons, Darl and Jewel, leave the farm to make a delivery for the Bundrens’ neighbor, Vernon Tull, whose wife and two daughters have been tending to Addie. Shortly after Darl and Jewel leave, Addie dies. The youngest Bundren child, Vardaman, associates his mother’s death with that of a fish he caught and cleaned earlier that day. With some help, Cash completes the coffin just before dawn. Vardaman is troubled by the fact that his mother is nailed shut inside a box, and while the others sleep, he bores holes in the lid, two of which go through his mother’s face. Addie and Anse’s daughter, Dewey Dell, whose recent sexual liaisons with a local farmhand named Lafe have left her pregnant, is so overwhelmed by anxiety over her condition that she barely mourns her mother’s death. A funeral service is held on the following day, where the women sing songs inside the Bundren house while the men stand outside on the porch talking to each other.
Darl, who narrates much of this first section, returns with Jewel a few days later, and the presence of buzzards over their house lets them know their mother is dead. On seeing this sign, Darl sardonically reassures Jewel, who is widely perceived as ungrateful and uncaring, that he can be sure his beloved horse is not dead. Addie has made Anse promise that she will be buried in the town of Jefferson, and though this request is a far more complicated proposition than burying her at home, Anse’s sense of obligation, combined with his desire to buy a set of false teeth, compels him to fulfill Addie’s dying wish. Cash, who has broken his leg on a job site, helps the family lift the unbalanced coffin, but it is Jewel who ends up manhandling it, almost single-handedly, into the wagon. Jewel refuses, however, to actually come in the wagon, and follows the rest of the family riding on his horse, which he bought when he was young by secretly working nights on a neighbor’s land.
On the first night of their journey, the Bundrens stay at the home of a generous local family, who regard the Bundrens’ mission with skepticism. Due to severe flooding, the main bridges leading over the local river have been flooded or washed away, and the Bundrens are forced to turn around and attempt a river-crossing over a makeshift ford. When a stray log upsets the wagon, the coffin is knocked out, Cash’s broken leg is reinjured, and the team of mules drowns. Vernon Tull sees the wreck, and helps Jewel rescue the coffin and the wagon from the river. Together, the family members and Tull search the riverbed for Cash’s tools.
Cora, Tull’s wife, remembers Addie’s unchristian inclination to respect her son Jewel more than God. Addie herself, speaking either from her coffin or in a leap back in time to her deathbed, recalls events from her life: her loveless marriage to Anse; her affair with the local minister, Whitfield, which led to Jewel’s conception; and the birth of her various children. When Whitfield hears Addie is dying, he heads for the Bundren's, intending to confess to Anse. On arrival he learns that Addie is already dead, realizes that she has not revealed their affair, and decides not to say anything to Anse after all.
A horse doctor sets Cash’s broken leg, while Cash faints from the pain without ever complaining. Anse is able to purchase a new team of mules by mortgaging his farm equipment, using money that he was saving for his false teeth and money that Cash was saving for a new gramophone, and trading in Jewel’s horse. The family continues on its way. In the town of Mottson, residents react with horror to the stench coming from the Bundren wagon. While the family is in town, Dewey Dell tries to buy a drug that will abort her unwanted pregnancy, but the pharmacist refuses to sell it to her, and advises marriage instead. With cement the family has purchased in town, Darl creates a makeshift cast for Cash’s broken leg, which fits poorly and only increases Cash’s pain. The Bundrens then spend the night at a local farm owned by a man named Gillespie. Darl, who has been skeptical of their mission for some time, burns down the Gillespie barn with the intention of incinerating the coffin and Addie’s rotting corpse. Jewel rescues the animals in the barn, then risks his life to drag out Addie’s coffin. Darl lies on his mother’s coffin and cries.
The next day, the Bundrens arrive in Jefferson and bury Addie. Rather than face a lawsuit for Darl’s criminal barn burning, the Bundrens claim that Darl is insane, and give him to a pair of men who commit him to a Jackson mental institution. Two of the Bundren children, Jewel and Dewey Dell, help the men from the mental institution by leading the attack against Darl. This familial betrayal, combined with Darl's experience in the Great War and his realization that Jewel is not Anse's son, lead Darl to legitimate mental instability. Dewey Dell tries again to buy an abortion drug at the local pharmacy, where a boy working behind the counter claims to be a doctor and tricks her into exchanging sexual services for what she soon realizes is not an actual abortion drug. Anse then takes the ten dollars that Lafe had given her to buy an abortion drug and uses it to treat himself with a day on the town. The following morning, the children are greeted by their father, who sports a new set of false teeth and, with a mixture of shame and pride, introduces them to his new bride, a local woman he meets while borrowing shovels with which to bury Addie.
|This unreferenced section requires citations to ensure verifiability.|
Throughout the novel, Faulkner presents fifteen different points of view, each chapter narrated by one character, including Addie, who, after dying, expresses her thoughts from the coffin. In 59 chapters titled only by their narrators' names, the characters are developed gradually through each other's perceptions and opinions, Darl's predominating.
Like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, Faulkner stands among the pioneers of stream of consciousness. He first used the technique in The Sound and the Fury, and it gives As I Lay Dying its distinctly intimate tone, through the monologues of the tragically flawed Bundrens and the passers-by they encounter. The story helped found the Southern Renaissance and directs a great deal of effort as it progresses to reflections on being and existence, the existential metaphysics of everyday life.
The one chapter narrated by Addie Bundren helped bring issues of feminism and motherhood in literature to the fore, as her voice is clearly expressed only after her death. Except for Jewel and Cash, Addie either dislikes or acts dismissively toward all her children. Jewel and Cash are profoundly affected by her regard for them.
Addie's chapter helps to understand Addie as more than a traditional portrayal of a woman as "villainous, incompetent, unfulfilled, or dead," and portrays her as revengeful and deliberate. The chapter discusses her hatred of the students she teaches and her disloyalty and lack of love for her husband Anse. Therefore Addie's requests as she dies including her desire to be buried in Jefferson (which was quite far away) represents her deceit and her ability to control her family on her death bed and in death. This portrays Addie as a feminist figure and more than a traditional literary woman.
As I Lay Dying is consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th century literature. The novel has been reprinted by the Modern Library, the Library of America, and numerous other publishers, including Chatto and Windus in 1970, Random House in 1990, Tandem Library in 1991, and Vintage Books in 1996. Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949 for his novels prior to that date, among them this book.
The novel has also directly influenced a number of other critically acclaimed books, including British author Graham Swift's 1996 Booker Prize-winning novel Last Orders and Suzan-Lori Parks's Getting Mother's Body: A Novel, which is a reimagining of Faulkner's novel from an African American point of view.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked As I Lay Dying 35th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
The character Darl Bundren also appeared in Faulkner's 1935 short story "Uncle Willy".
The Sound and the Fury
|Novels set in Yoknapatawpha County||Succeeded by