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Free Study Guide-As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner-Free Book Notes
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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The plot is the least important of the major elements of story. The culmination of the plot is Addie’s burial, but Faulkner intentionally avoids showing us the burial. We are only told that "we got it filled and covered." It is not the plot that matters but the way that the stories are told.

THEME ANALYSIS

In As I Lay Dying, the theme of sanity’s tenuousness is expressed by contrasting Darl, the one everyone considers insane, with those characters whom society deems sane but whose actions are difficult to comprehend or to accept. Darl is the narrator with whom the reader might be likely to associate based upon reasons of intelligence, experience, or sophistication, but he is "insane" and cruel at times. The "sane" characters participate in a trek, which is macabre and self- destructive. It is finally Cash who states that these terms, "sane" and "insane," are not exclusive and that each person expresses both.


COMMENT ON THE STUDY OF LITERATURE

The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author's life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.

In this set of PinkMonkey® Literature Notes for a well-known piece of literature, we at PinkMonkey.com have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours. So is the interpretation of your teacher or professor.

Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, these PinkMonkey® Literature Notes will help you to accomplish that goal.

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