William Faulkner – Wrote What?

I’m reading ‘As I lay Dying’ by William Faulkner and out of his pages comes this paragraph smashing me.

‘In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were. I dont know what I am.’

That stopped me in my tracks.

And the ‘dont’ was written exactly that way.

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8 thoughts on “William Faulkner – Wrote What?

      • It has an almost ethereal feel to me. It’s that state between consciousness and sleep; that place of tranquil peace with no defining lines or constraints, a place just to be. Very powerful, as it prompts the reader to reflect on the fragility of his or her own existence. That is what I took from it, without having the larger context of the entire piece. What was your interpretation?

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      • I think you’re spot on. It’s a philosophical approach that I’m seeing more and more within the book. He begs the reader to self reflect. Which is your point and I completely agree. Thank you for the in depth comment.

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  1. Ok, so I am about 80 pages in, and here’s what I’m thinking. It took me a while to get used to the dialect and revolving narrators, but I think I’ve discovered Faulkner’s secret. And I think you alluded to it in our earlier exchange. He has this way of weaving universal, soul-touching truths into the mundane–so much so that I find myself re-reading passages over and over again for clarity. There are some specific ones that struck me thus far, but I didn’t want to overload your comment section. What do you think? 🙂

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    • Sorry for the delay! Thanksgiving. That and the nor’easter that hit New England devastated my home town. Multiple transformers blew. The lines directly in front of my mothers house snapped. She lost her fridge, stove and microwave. They still are without power. Unfortunately Thanksgiving was forced to be cancelled back home. I’ve spent much of my time making phone calls trying to connect with family. It’s been a bit hectic. Back to the story- Yes, I agree. I think Faulkner’s done an amazing job using the different personalities to exhibit depth of understanding, sense of self, or lack there of. I think Darl has my interest the most. I enjoy how Faulkner uses Darl to summarize situations clearly and quickly, as though Darl sees ‘what is’ when others struggle to understand what’s inside of them. Which personality are you relating to the most? ps, I apologize for any spelling mistakes and the sloppy writing!

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      • Oh my, no apologies! I hope your mother is doing well. I completely understand and hope you were able to connect with family and enjoy Thanksgiving under the circumstances.

        I agree with you about Darl. He seems to be the voice of reason and the one with the most clarity. I find some interest in Dewey Dell; perhaps because she is female, but mostly because I anticipate her struggle in losing her mother and how that will affect her place in the family and in life in general. As a side note, I love how Faulkner drops in bits of dry humor as well. I’m about halfway through now, and I appreciate your reading and responding to my comments as I go.

        Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

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