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In "As I Lay Dying" Faulkner built on a tradition started by modernist writers such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Faulkner used stream-of-consciousness plot to search awareness as well as thought as the basis of experience. Objective actuality does not exist in As I Lay Dying; we have merely the highly subjective interior monologues of 15 different narrators.
The structure of As I Lay Dying is influential and ground-breaking. Fifteen tellers of tales alternate, delivering interior monologues with changeable degrees of coherence and emotional intensity. The language is powerful and extremely subjective, with an identifiable change in language depending on the narrator. Every section falls somewhere in the series from confessional to stream-of-consciousness.
The narrative emerges fragmentary; however the story shows marvelous unity: it is restricted to the span of a few days; also the different sub-plots are understandably and competently interwoven. Faulkner's novelty is in how we see this incorporated set of events: we are mandated to look at the story from a number of different views, each of which is extremely subjective.
"As I Lay Dying" notifies us with a far greater variety of voices. The voices are more numerous as well as more ambiguous. Among Faulkner's accomplishments, in this novel and elsewhere, was the depiction of the dialect of the South into poetic literary language. ...
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