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Fathers and Lovers: "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner

Daniel Thomières

Pages 27 - 42



This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This essay analyzes William Faulkner’s experiment in "As I Lay Dying". Among other readings, the novel can be seen as an interrogation of the notion of fatherhood and (perhaps surprisingly) as an attempt to ask what love is. The essay focuses on two fathers, Anse Bundren and Vernon Tull, reading them as, on the one hand, lovers and, on the other hand, as the instance of the Lacanian Name-of-the-Father, something ignored in the Bundren family by Addie, whose control over the minds of her children bars them from achieving a viable sense of self and access to desire. Using psychoanalytical (mostly Lacanian) concepts, the essay concludes with the proposition that As I Lay Dying can be seen as an exploration of one’s possibilities of life.

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