An Analysis of the as I Lay Dying, a Novel by American Author William Faulkner

Dying by William Faulkner has several moments that are prominent to an active reader. A specific example from p. 45 goes as follows: “When we enter the room she is watching the door. She looks at me. Her eyes look like lamps blaring up just before the oil is gone. “She wants you to go out,” the girl says.” The moment in time carrys a message for a casual reader, and to an active reader. An active reader should notice the literary elements used and understand the real message the author is painting in the scene. An active reader will notice and understand the moment in time to a higher degree rather than a casual reader whom may just pass over the moment and not comprehend it.

A casual reader may understand what a moment in time means on the surface, but not in depth. The moment in time to a casual reader can typically pick up a mood, or feeling. Sad, or dark are the feelings that the passage gives. The message understood by the casual reader is that the unnamed female is dying. She either doesn’t want the narrator’s company or she doesn’t want him to see her die, because it could make the narrator upset. Also, the comparision of an oil lamp and the dying, unnamed female means that this woman isn’t fighting her death. She has accepted it and her life will be extinguished just as the lamp will be when it runs out of oil.

Active readers analyze moments in time and can give theorys about its meaning. A female either heard visitors approaching or expected them-including the narrator. The statement is proved becasuse the narrator mentioned the unnamed dying female, ‘she’, was watching the door when they entered. The female focuses on the narrator, giving the narrator importance and focus in the scene. The narrator describes her eyes, drawing a comparision between them and a dying oil lamp. As an oil lamp is going out it brightens, or flares, just before the light is extinguished. Her eyes are parallel objects to the lamp. She is dying, but her eyes are bright just before her life is extinguished. The next line is a quote from the girl. She speaks up for the dying unnamed female, stating that she wants the narrator to leave the room. The complete message from an active reader has been addressed, which leaves the literary elements to be described.

Literary element from this one moment in time includes the setting, the tense it is written in, background of people involved, a metaphor, how it is written. The setting is in the 20th century or earlier because it is the time frame of when an oil lamp was commonly used. The tense it is written in is present tense because the moment is being recorded as it happens. The background of the characters involved can be learned from diction. The girl says “go out,” which is a vague, rough way of saying leave. This diction can either reflect the way vague way people may talk in her surrounding community or the possible lack of a good education. It may also hint at youth in the girl. A metaphor is used. It is the comparision of the dying female’s eyes and an lamp.

The metaphor is used by the author to make the scence more descriptive. Lastly, this moment in time is written in first person. The narrator refers to himself/herself with the pronoun “me.” The author paints a neat picture that onlly has to be analyzed to understand it. A casual reader may understand a few details when reading a moment in time; however it takes an active reader to see between the lines. An active reader is required to see the literary elements within the passage and understand how they contribute to the scene as a whole.

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