Archive for October, 2010

Outsiders

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

We talked a little bit in class about how Faulkner might be critiquing Southern culture through As I Lay Dying by juxtaposing the characters against each other; if Anse is the sponge, then Cash is the teeth. If Jewel is the beloved illegitimate child, Darl is the hated legitimate child (assuming I read “And now he has three children that are his and not mine” correctly in that Addie indicts Darl because of Anse–page 102).

But what I thought was interesting was how Faulkner uses Darl and Jewel against each other that, in a way, creates a very pessimistic view of not only Southern culture, but a Southern family as well. In the first half of the novel, Jewel is seen as the outsider. He is the illegitimate child that Darl torments, that works nights on his own to buy his own horse, that rides the horse rather than the wagon with the coffin and the rest of the family, that barely speaks. Darl is the insider–he is the “trusted” narrator, he rides with the family in the wagon with the coffin, he does what he’s supposed to. Using the river crossing as the catalyst, Faulkner almost immediately causes the two to switch places. Darl’s devolution from “trusted” to maniacal and possibly insane [“yes yes yes yes yes” (146)] turns him into the outsider as he is shipped to Jackson while Jewel becomes the insider as he integrates himself into the family and becomes more like them by getting rid of the horse, standing on the street corner, saving the coffin and the animals–when Anse introduces the new Mrs. Bundren, he says “It’s Cash and Jewel and Vardaman and Dewey Dell” (149). There is no mention of Darl at all.

It is a very pessimistic depiction of Southern culture because Faulkner reveals that there’s always the outsider in Southern culture. That you can’t truly be a Southern family unless your family has “a black sheep” or, as we said in class, someone just lacks being there.

As I Lay Dying: The Musical

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

The first three minutes of this class project cover the majority of the first half of the novel. Some of the songs are spot on with their depictions of the characters, ie. the “Gonna Get Me Some Teeth” song. The scenes are pretty funny for a school project video.

Recordings of Faulkner’s UVA Sessions

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

From the NPR website, I discovered the transcript and recording of a story from July 15th about  audio recordings of Faulkner from his time at UVA being posted online.  Alongside the story: story.php?storyId=128513514 are three of the clips of Faulkner speaking.  I found them to be well worth listening to; and to make it even better for everyone, the clips are very short in nature.  But from the audio clips we hear Faulkner speaking about his work and making it accessible to the audience.  Faulkner also speaks on his perception of the human condition which I think could be interesting to be mindful of as we finish As I Lay Dying.

Faulkner at UVA

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

In 1957, William Faulkner went to the University of Virginia as writer-in-residence.  Here is  an article/YouTube clip from UVA Magazine describing Faulkner’s visit through the recollection of a student there.  There are some nice photographs of Faulkner in Charlottesville– one of him on the Lawn, and in another he’s even attending a track meet. In many of the photos, Faulkner is in what looks like a traditional classroom, but the audience gives it away,* so he is most likely doing a workshop of some sort, rather than teaching a traditional class.

*Side story: It is apparent that this is no traditional classroom, as it is 1957 and there are women in the audience and women were not admitted as students to UVA’s Arts & Sciences school until 1970. (Women could attend the nursing school and there were (very) few women law and architecture students.) Interestingly, beginning in 1892, faculty agreed that women could register as ‘special students’ but they had to be tutored privately by professors and could not attend classes. There was a lot of pressure over the years for UVA to admit women. It came up with a compromise of sorts in 1943 by establishing a coordinate women’s college. Mary Washington College was named as the women’s college for UVA, which it was until 1970 when UVA went co-ed ( and, of course, so did Mary Washington!).

As I Lay Dead

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

I came across this video that I high school class had to make for their class. It’s a preview for a movie called “As I Lay Dead” based off the novel “As I Lay Dying” by Faulckner. It is entertaining, but the effects are kind of painful to watch.

As I Lay Dying Banned?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

In my Newsgathering class a couple of years ago, we read an article about books that have been banned. So, I was curious as to whether or not As I Lay Dying had been banned. Surprisingly, it was-or at least I found it surprising. In 1986, Graves County, Kentucky, the school board banned this book from its high school English reading list because it has seven passages which made a reference to God or abortion and used curse words such as “bastard,” “goddam,” and “son of a bitch.” The funny part about this is that none of the school board members had actually read the book.

If you want to find out more novels that have been banned, then go here: List of Banned Books

Writerly vs Readerly- My Generation

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

As discussed in class, Faulkner’s text is considered writerly. The reader is left to put the pieces together. As lazy Americans we tend to hate that process. There is no money in writerly text just as there is no money in writerly tv.

Grey’s Anatomy is a “readerly” television show. It has remained on air for several seasons. One Tree Hill is now in it’s 8th season. Gossip Girl has survived 3 seasons.

My Generation is a “writerly” television show. It follows a class that graduated and then independently films each person’s point of view just as Faulkner writes in each persons point of view. The viewer is forced to try and fit each story together and figure out the causes that happened in High School. Thus taking many points of veiw and coming up with one main story. Needless to say this show only survived 2 episodes. For the few fans it had, they may or may not be releasing the remaining shows on DVD.

So although “Readerly” is overrated and predictable, lazy Americans like us prefer to have the work done for us. That’s where the money is. This is the reason for shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl to continue and “writerly” shows like My Generation fail and get canceled after 2 episodes, not even surviving 1 whole season.

Literary Project Runway- by Ocean and Meg Baker

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Bodily Relations

 The group looking at sexuality strategically placed Edna’s relationships with corresponding body parts. The picture symbollically represents the people in Edna’s life in relation to physical or emotional connections.

Clothing Vs Nudity- "Naked Lady"

The material culture group helped to depict and symbolize the scene where Edna sheds her clothing as if shedding the oppressions she felt from the material world.

Edna Crucifix

The religion group looked at the differences between the Catholic Creole society that conservative Protestant Edna found herself emersed in and the affects those pressures had on her.

Chains

The class group looked at the chains Edna wore from societal pressures and how she managed to break away from them but in breaking away from class, her only option was death.

The "Race" Race

The race and ethnicity group looked at how race was used to establish class and certain racial identies that Edna felt were a threat to her in society. Using motion, they showed how some characters are trying to win the race, while others have remained stationary in the roles in society.

The Awakening Monitor

The formalist group (aka group #1!) looked at Edna’s definitions of awakening and charted her high and lows throughout her awakening process. The ultimate conclusion was a flat line and basically that only through death could she have a true awakening.

Is there such a thing as being too writerly?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

In class today we talked about how “manipulative,” if you will, Darl is towards Jewel; tormenting him with the lumber while Addie’s on her deathbed. Perhaps this is just my naivete showing, but I don’t think Darl is as manipulative and “antagonistic” that Richards may have alluded him to be. I feel the same way about the feminist reading of The Awakening; I have a hard time associating any kind of criticism (feminist theory or naturalist theory, what have you) or symbolism to a text if it isn’t overt and spelled out for me.

I saw these on dearblankpleaseblank.com and thought it accurately reflected how ambivalent I am and careful about associating a type of theory or close reading with any text.

At what point have you read too much into the text that now you’re completely overlooking the author’s intention? At what point are you inflicting your opinion over an author? I didn’t think Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl or Narrative of Frederick Douglass were that horribly sentimental. Maybe I’m too disassociated from my emotions (my roommate would argue this is the case), but maybe we put too much focus on one particular thing that we read a completely different novel than what the author wrote–that we turn something readerly into something writerly. Faulkner, yes, we’re supposed to be writerly and figure things out for ourselves, but is there ever a point where we’ve become too writerly and completely destroy a perfectly good book?

Faulkner as a crescendo?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I have only read one other Faulkner novel before and this was The Sound and the Fury. I read it in 295 and also just finished reading it again in my Disability and Literature class this semester. One overlapping theme I have seen so far in both novels uses multiple voices in narration.

Normally the voice of the narrator helps shape the way that readers understand a story. This one voice can reveal a point-of-view, the background of the speaker or of the setting, and the relationship of the narrator to others in the story. However, we have all seen by now that Faulkner shifts the use of a narrator by using several all at once. Therefore only small amounts of information are given at a time and we are left, as the readers, to figure out and piece together the rest.

When I went looking around for some information about As I Lay Dying I found a critique from Evan Goodwin. He is quoted saying,

[Faulkner] often told his stories using multiple narratives, each with their own interests and biases, who allow us to piece together the ‘true’ circumstances of the story, not as clues in a mystery, but as different melodies in a piece of music that form a crescendo. The conclusion presents a key to understanding the broad panorama surrounding the central event in a way that traditional linear narratives simply are unable to accomplish.

I think the melody metaphor is a very interesting way of putting it. And although, like Kathleen said, I’m a bit Faulkner-ed out right now… at least we all have a crescendo to look forward to!