Monday, March 15, 2010

Entry #2

Finally, the post that actually matters. The post about either As I Lay Dying or The Great Gatsby. I didn’t like As I Lay Dying in the beginning. However, I slowly started liking it near the end. Why, you may ask? It is because the Faulkner’s novel starts to go more in-depth about the topics that I liked (from now on I’ll be using Faulkner’s novel or Fitzgerald’s novel from now on. I don’t like having to underline book titles).

Faulkner’s novel is first about the impossibility of an objective view on reality. While that is a topic that I do enjoy, there are two things that I dislike about the beginning of the book. First, no one does anything interesting. It’s true. Cash is laboring away at the coffin, while Vardaman is fishing. Anse is sitting, while Addie is laying (dead). Jewel is petting his horse, while Dewey Dell is yelling at cows. Finally, I have no clue what Darl is doing. Nothing interesting at least. Second, there is a major flaw with this representation of subjective reality. Faulkner gets around it. He uses Darl to give the objective view on events that occur in the story. For instance, when Addie dies, Darl can see the scene in his head, and he tells Jewel what happened. I don’t believe that Darl had psychic powers. I think Faulkner cheated. Of course, he didn’t really need to. After all, Darl could’ve easily not known about his mother’s death, and it would not have changed the course of the story at all. Yet, Faulkner cannot resist the temptation of giving a character an objective view of reality. This is quite irritating to me. You might just say that it is just a couple of pages that I should not be angry about, but the mere fact that objective reality is somewhere in there shatters the concept of subjective reality. The idea of subjective reality is that objective reality is never there.

Towards the end, I started to like the novel more. More interesting things started to occur. One is the river. I really liked those chapters because I was hoping for someone to die (Unfortunately, it did not happen, but hey, you can’t always get what you want). Still, it was a pretty exciting set of chapters. The other event I liked was Darl’s burning of the barn, which was linked to Darl’s apparent insanity. I really like how the book delves in the concept of what is insanity. After all, that idea goes very neatly hand-in-hand with the idea of subjective reality. Since there is not an objective reality, who can tell who is correct in mind. This has to do with a lot of other things besides just insansity. For one, it has to do with other major debates about thinking. I got into a couple of debates about capitalism where the opponents of mine said that my way of thinking was flawed. What was their support? Things constructed from their way of thinking. Besides that, I also liked the idea of the fire. It reminded me of Fahrenheit 451. Fire was something that was clean and could wash away things, and I believe that Darl was trying to clean or wash something away that had to do with Addie’s coffin.

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