It is thus that he helps to establish the truly tragic abstractions that characterize the familys individual experiences. Where a broad, unilateral overview of the story might direct the readers focus to the burial plot, an objective set of narratives articulated by the characters themselves suggests that Faulkner intends the story more as a lamentation for the living.
In As I Lay Dying, Faulkner delivers a treatise on the American condition too often unconsidered in either the literary or the public forums. The Bundrens can be considered less a family comprised of actual individuals as a unit of caricatures. The characters are altogether conflicted by selfishness and emotional ambivalence, divided by an unrefined sense of loyalty and an incapacity to truly experience mourning and relentlessly driven to their goal even as they are guided by cloudy ambitions. In this regard, it is difficult to even determine that Faulkner finds redemption for his characters. Though in resolution they do deliver Addie to her final resting place, the novels end is shrouded in uncertainty, just as is the rest of the narrative.
Indeed, if the literary features discussed here can be said to align toward any one conclusion, perhaps it may be that of ambivalence. The consequence of the lifestyle described in his novel and the larger American society which is an unspoken backdrop thereto, it is this numbing of the human condition that preoccupies Faulkner even at the novels restless denouement.
Faulkner, W. (1930). As I Lay Dying. Vintage.
Levinger, L. (2000). Prophet Faulkner: Ignored for Much of His Own Time and Then Embalmed in Dignity by the Nobel Prize, William Faulkner Spoke to the Violence and Disorder of Our Time. The Atlantic Monthly, 285.
McHaney, T.L. (2004). First Is Jefferson: Faulkner Shapes His Domain. Mississippi Quarterly, 57.
Mellard, J.M. (1995). Something New and Hard and Bright: Faulkner, Ideology
and the Construction of Modernism. The Mississippi.