Honors American Literature, 5th Period
25 August 2014
As I Lay Dying is a novel by William Faulkner that uses interior monologues to show how each member of a family is responding to the death of with their beloved mother figure, Addie Bundren. Faulkner uses many different literary elements to show their different methods of grieving and coping with the loss of a loved one. Vardaman has a particularly difficult time with this process. The author uses repetition to represent the immaturity and misunderstanding of Addie’s youngest son, Vardaman.
Vardaman is the youngest and most childish, considering the fact that he is assumed to be about 7 years old. He has to go through a lot of suffering at such a young age, and he is often afraid. Laura Maher says, “Vardaman seems to use his repeated phrases out of fear, clinging to the comfort of a few words.” Vardaman is proven to be very immature in many parts of the story by repeating words and expressions. For example, Vardaman says, "If pa is your pa, why does your ma have to be a horse just because Jewel's is?" "Why does it?" I said. "Why does it, Darl?" (Faulkner 101).
The youngest Bundren child is far too young to understand the concept of death, and he doesn’t realize that his mother is no longer a physical being on the earth. “It was not her. I was there, looking. I saw. I thought it was her, but it was not. It was not my mother. She went away when the other one laid down in her bed and drew the quilt up. She went away.” (Faulkner 66). This quote shows that Vardaman does not understand what is happening to his mother and because of his age, is probably very confused. Alex Keith says, “…Cora, who even in her feminine sensitivity is unable to understand Vardaman and help him better understand death,” He has so many questions regarding this subject but no one is willing to understand his confusion and answer his questions.
Vardaman is also characterized by repetition...
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