Women In Faulkner

In response to a question about whether it is easier to create a male or female character, Faulkner responds: “It’s much more fun to try to write about women because I think women are marvelous… wonderful … [and] I know very little about them”

Diana York Blaine “The Abjection of Addie and Other Myths of the Maternal in As I Lay Dying”
Even though Faulkner felt it appropriate to grant the mother such power, to portray her in a traditionally masculine position, he also felt it necessary to kill her off without leaving behind an intact matriarchy to carry on her rein, to reify her authority. Instead we see a woman as symbol of power eclipsed as she ascends, her putative centrality undermined by the symbolic system that subsumes her abject corpse into the ground at the end. So other than being allowed symbolic status, as nominal head of the family, or at least an irreplaceable individual in the lives of her children, she functions , a direct descendent of Eve, as the agent of chaos and representative of death in yet another western text.

Doreen Fowler “Matricide and the Mother’s Revenge in As I Lay Dying”
In As I Lay Dying, Addie Brundren rebels against a patriarchal order that mandates the mother’s death: she rejects her father’s teaching that “the reason for living is to get ready to stay dead for a long time” (98), and locates the meaning of existence in the body and the living world: “I believed that the reason was the duty to be alive, to the terrible blood , the red bitter flood boiling through the land” (98), With these words, Addie sets herself up in opposition to a life-repressive social order. Whereas patriarchal law identifies life with death, the origin in the mother with the end, Addie lives for “the alive,” for the fluid, chaotic, elemental existence that the father’s law would stifle. She lies awake at night “hearing the dark land talking the voiceless speech;” she acknowledges the material world, naming her daughter Dewey Dell, for the land (98).

Philip Weinstein “Faulkner’s Rendering of Women”
Faulkner approaches his women differently from his men … Seen for the most part from outside, deprived both vertically in time and horizontally in space of their own subjective history, Faulkner’s women move through their world as “wonderful” creatures, but considerably handicapped from a narrative perspective, when compared to men.

Mimi Gladstein “Mothers and Daughter in Endless Procession: Faulkner’s Use of the Demeter/Persephone Myth”
He uses the paradigm to suggest the endless renewal of the Eternal Feminine. It is one of a variety of techniques he employed to communicate his sense of female strength. Often in his characterization of women, Faulkner emphasized their great endurance. His “unvanquished” elderly aunts and grandmothers are clearly representative of female indomitability. So are the many “earth mother” characters in his works. However, it is his manipulation of the Demeter/Persephone myth that some of his strongest affirmative messages are transmitted, an affirmation inherent in the continuity embodied by the mother daughter relationship.

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