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Cubism

First, cubism, is a collection of narratives from different perspectives (people) covering the same subject in a story. Surrealism is art that defies comprehension, yet attracts the viewer’s subconscious to want to explore the image.

Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying often called a literary masterpiece, which is basically one story told fifteen times from fifteen different people. This is Cubism taken to the absurd. But then at the same time it is an excellent example of what cubism in writing is. The book brings into play each main member of the funeral, to give their view of the story, the same story.

Another aspect of the cubism used in the book was the way Faulkner worded his descriptions. Usually in a description of someone following the main, would be to say; “as I walked towards the barn, ‘name’ was walking behind me”. Faulkner used a cubist wording that gave a different image, one that the narrator could see from different angles; “as we walked single file towards the barn, ‘name’ not fifteen steps behind, looked forward with excited interest”. These are not exact quotes, but giving an example of how the wording worked. Faulkner used cubist descriptions throughout the book, bringing a visual aspect to his writing.

Even though it is the same story, each one has their own personal vision of that story. So that with each telling there is always something different and a lot the same. But it does give the reader a collection of perspectives to see a more deeper context of the story. But at the same time, the over use of the Cubism is also problematic. Many times in the narrations one is left wondering who or what Faulkner is talking about. As he works so much on the cubism, other vital factors only come in at the end of the narration. This dizzying excess leaves the story for those who are proficient and coinsurers of cubism.

The surrealism in the book is in one chapter, the book does not flow with a heavy surrealist texture. What is often cited as the surreal context is during Vardaman’s narration in reference to his mother being a fish. Mrs. Wilson provides a point that the book, though hard to read is worth it. Against her statement, keeping a bottle of aspirin handy would be a worthwhile suggestion as well.

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