By Nina TorskaWed. 24 Apr. 20243min Read

Our Favourite As I Lay Dying Quotes

In this blog, we explore key quotes from "As I Lay Dying," delving into Faulkner's deep examination of life, death, and family.
Our Favourite  As I Lay Dying Quotes

In William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying," I am perpetually gripped by the intensity of its narrative and the intricate portrayal of each character's inner turmoil.

This novel, a cornerstone of American literature, masterfully intertwines themes of existence, mortality, and the unyielding complexities of family dynamics, showcasing Faulkner's unique narrative style and profound philosophical insight.

"My mother is a fish." - Vardaman

Vardaman’s childlike understanding of death and his attempt to rationalize his mother’s passing is both haunting and poignant. This line, while starkly simple, vividly captures the confusion and grief of a young child in the face of loss.

It's a striking example of how Faulkner uses the characters’ perspectives to delve into complex themes like mortality and the subjective nature of reality.

"I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth." - Addie

This quote from Addie Bundren's rare narrative contribution offers a visceral glimpse into her own perception of life and death.

As someone fascinated by the depth of Faulkner's character development, this line exemplifies the raw, almost primal expression of human consciousness that Faulkner portrays so effectively.

"It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it." - Anse

Anse Bundren’s reflection on perception and judgment underscores a central theme in Faulkner's work: the societal gaze and its impact on personal identity. This quote resonates with me as it encapsulates the external pressures and moral judgments that shape our actions and self-image.


"I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not." - Jewel

Jewel’s existential doubt reflects the intense personal turmoil and identity crisis that Faulkner explores through his characters.

This line strikes a chord for its stark depiction of existential uncertainty, a theme that deeply influences my appreciation for Faulkner's exploration of the human psyche.

"Love and a cough cannot be hid." - Anse

Anse delivers this piece of folk wisdom, which, in its simplicity, reveals much about his character’s view on the inescapable nature of love. It’s a reminder of the universal truths that govern human relationships, regardless of the circumstances.

"I am not religious, I reckon. But peace is my heart: I know it is." - Vardaman

Vardaman's declaration of inner peace amidst the family’s trials offers a moment of simple clarity and innocence. This line provides a profound insight into the ways individuals cope with chaos and grief.

"He had a word, too. Love, he called it." - Addie

Addie’s cynical reflection on the word ‘love’ and its implications in her life speaks volumes about her troubled relationships and the disillusionment that pervades her perspective on love and loyalty.

"If it had just been me when Cash fell off of that church and if it had just been me when pa laid sick with that load of wood fell on him, it would not be happening with every bastard in the county coming in to stare at me." - Darl

Darl’s introspective monologue highlights his isolation and resentment towards the invasive curiosity of outsiders. This quote enhances the theme of privacy, dignity, and the intrusiveness of others, which Faulkner portrays with penetrating insight.


"Sometimes I aint so sho who's got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way." - Darl

This profound observation by Darl reflects on the relative nature of sanity and the power of societal norms to define normalcy and madness. It's a reflection that challenges the reader to consider the fluid boundaries of mental health.

"The reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time." - Addie

Addie’s grim view of life and death provides a stark, nihilistic perspective on existence. This quote, laden with fatalism, provokes deep existential contemplation about the purpose of life and the inevitability of death.

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