Law and Humanities
Published: 17 December 2022
Investigating the (Non-)being: A Spectral Reading of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
Md. Zubair Rahman, Sheikh Saifullah Ahmed
International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, Bangladesh
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Keywords: As I Lay Dying, deconstruction, spectral criticism, the uncanny, William Faulkner
This paper offers a spectral reading of the representation of Addie Bundren in William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying (1930). Spectral Criticism considers literature to be an uncanny affair and reading to be a resurrected, terrifying yet desired communication with the dead. It also approaches a text as “an orphan” which has a connection to its parents but cannot be traced back to them properly. It finds out the return of suppressed past and focuses on the in-accessibilities of getting the complete meaning of a text. Premised on the aforementioned modes of reading, this paper intends to understand how Addie’s spectre is represented in the novel, to inquire into the potential of this character as a spectre, and also looks to illustrate the cryptic nature of Addie’s monologue. A qualitative content analysis method is adopted to inquire into the spectral discourses in the narrative. The findings show that this narrative manifests the non-present presence to question the hierarchy between life and death; father and mother; and presence and absence. This paper suggests that the spectre of Addie works as a driving force to subvert the social constructions of binary and creates a situation suitable for deconstructive reading.
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