Οι συναντήσεις των ομάδων, που αυτή τη στιγμή αριθμούν εικοσι τρία μέλη, πραγματοποιούνται κάθε μήνα στη Στέγη Γραμμάτων και Τεχνών στη Λεμεσό.


William Faulkner "As I Lay Dying"

Faulkner’s first novel published after The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying has been acclaimed as one of Faulkner’s greatest novels as well as a self-proclaimed “tour de force” by Faulkner himself. Like the novel before it, it is told in stream-of-conscious fashion by fifteen different speakers in some 59 chapters. In its depiction of the Bundren family’s quest to Jefferson to bury their dead matriarch, Addie, among her “people,” against the threats of flood and fire, the novel explores the nature of grieving, community, and family.

The Story

As the novel opens, Addie Bundren lies dying in her bed in her family’s farmhouse in southeastern Yoknapatawpha County. Neighbors come to visit, while outside her oldest son, Cash, is sawing and hammering together her coffin. Her second son, Darl, convinces his brother Jewel (Addie’s third son) to go with him to pick up a load of lumber. Though he realizes Addie will probably die before they return, he convinces his father, Anse, that it is okay because “It means three dollars.” Darl’s apparent goal is to make sure that Jewel, Addie’s favorite son, will not be at her side when she dies.
While Addie’s daughter, Dewey Dell, stays with her, her youngest son, Vardaman, goes fishing and catches a very big fish, which Anse tells Dewey Dell to cook for their dinner. (Later, Vardaman begins to confuse the fish with his dead mother, resulting in Faulkner’s shortest, and one of his most famous-or infamous-chapters: “My mother is a fish.”)
Dr. Peabody arrives at the Bundrens’ house just in time to watch Addie die, and in outrage Vardaman chases away his horse and wagon. They are later recovered by Lon Quick. Just after Addie’s death a violent storm breaks, and Darl’s and Jewel’s lumber-laden wagon loses a wheel in a ditch. Meanwhile, young Vardaman drills holes into the coffin lid (so his mother can breathe), and inadvertently drills into her face. By the time the coffin and the wagon’s wheel are repaired, three days have passed, but finally, the family can set off on their journey to bury Addie.

The Journey

Years earlier, shortly after Darl was born, Addie had asked her husband to bury her in Jefferson, where her “people” were from, when she died. So to keep the promise he made to Addie, Anse sets off with his children toward Jefferson.
As the novel’s plot proceeds in stop-start fashion through the discrete monologues by the various speakers, more and more information is revealed about the Bundrens, their grief, and their society. The most conscientious Bundren, as well as the most detached, is Darl-who, it turns out, has always been regarded as odd by those who know him. Nevertheless, he is near-omniscient in his knowledge about his family: he knows, for instance, that his sister Dewey Dell is pregnant, and he also intuits that Jewel is only his half-brother-that he is not Anse’s son.
All of the Bundrens except for Darl and Jewel have ulterior motives for wanting to go on the long journey to Jefferson. Anse, the most selfish of them, wants a new set of teeth. Cash wants a phonograph (or as he calls it, a “graphophone”), and Vardaman wants to get a toy train. Dewey Dell wants to get an abortion (with the ten dollars that Lafe, the would-be father, has given her).

The First Threat: Flood

Their first major hurdle in their journey is the flood-swollen Yoknapatawpha River. They go well out of their way to one bridge, which has been swept away, then return to a bridge closer to home, which is likewise damaged by the flood. They nonetheless decide to chance crossing-which turns out to be a mistake. In the process, Cash’s leg is broken and their mules are drowned; it is only by sheer strength (or rage) that Jewel is able to keep Addie’s coffin from being swept away as well.
Now that the Bundrens are muleless, neighbors of the Bundrens believe Anse will want to borrow their mules, but he has something else in mind. He makes an arrangement with a kinsman of Flem Snopes to trade Cash’s eight dollars (which he had planned to use to buy the phonograph) and Jewel’s beloved horse, for which Jewel had worked many nights to obtain and which he treats more kindly than most human beings, for a new team of mules.
To continue their journey, the Bundrens had to go south to “Mottson” in the neighboring county and then head north along the main road to Jefferson. While in Mottson, they are treated with ever-increasing outrage: Addie’s decomposing body is beginning to smell and to attract buzzards. Dewey Dell tries to get an abortion but she is rebuffed by a morally upright and law-abiding pharmacist. To doctor Cash’s broken leg, Anse buys some cement and uses it to place a cast on Cash’s leg.

The Second Threat: Fire

About midway between Mottson and Jefferson, the Bundrens spend a night at Gillespie’s place. During the night, the barn where Addie’s coffin was being stored catches fire, and again it was saved only by the ferocity of Jewel’s efforts. Vardaman reveals that he had seen something, but Dewey Dell tells him not to repeat it.

The Journey Complete

Nine days after Addie’s death, the Bundrens finally arrive in Jefferson. Anse borrows some shovels from a “duck-shaped” woman to dig her grave, and finally, his promise to her has been fulfilled. Cash is sent to the doctor, and Darl-whom we discover set the fire in Gillespie’s barn to put their outrageous journey to an end-is sent to the mental asylum in Jackson to avoid the Bundrens being sued by Gillespie.
Vardaman looks in the store windows for the toy train, but it was nowhere to be found. Dewey Dell finds a pharmacist who says he will help her, but instead he tricks her into granting him sexual favors. Anse convinces her to give him the ten dollars (that Lafe had given her), which he uses to buy a new set of teeth. As the novel ends, he re-appears before his family with the duck-shaped woman-who happens to own a phonograph-and introduces her by saying, “Meet Mrs. Bundren.”


2 σχόλια:

  1. William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Speech
    Stockholm, Sweden
    December 10, 1950

    "All his life William Faulkner had avoided speeches, and insisted that he not be taken as a man of letters. 'I'm just a farmer who likes to tell stories.' he once said. Because of his known aversion to making formal pronouncements, there was much interest, when he traveled to Stockholm to receive the prize on December 10, 1950, in what he would say in the speech that custom obliged him to deliver. Faulkner evidently wanted to set right the misinterpretation of his own work as pessimistic. But beyond that, he recognized that, as the first American novelist to receive the prize since the end of World War II, he had a special obligation to take the changed situation of the writer, and of man, into account."

    Richard Ellmann

    I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

    Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

    Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.