As I Lay Dying English Extension Journal

This is the blog of Jeremy Martin of Year 11 English Extension Class (Phillips. It is being used for the purposes of completing Part B "Journal" of the research project given to Year 11 English Extension Classes. The novel chosen was "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Week One

Results of this week's research

Over the course of this week, I have learnt more about "As I Lay Dying" and the work of Faulkner than I initially expected I would. The majority of English time has been spent reading over signifigant areas of the book as the two major critical pieces we are expected to construct on the novel relate to a small number of signfigant scenes.

Reading some of the books in the library, I have come to realise that Addie plays the most signifigant role in the novel. Even beyond the grave, she is the dictator of the characters actions and the main driving force behind the novel. It is her will to be burried in Jeferson which causes the epic journey depicted in the novel.

Further, however I have learnt that the novel isn't only a novel relating to a journey, but rather it is an examination of a family and human behaviours. Faulkner belonged to a group of writers called the "modernists" who were looking to experiment with the form of writing (an example of this is Faulkner's changing of perspective and stream of conciousness approa
ch to "As I Lay Dying" - something which I found annoying and hard to read/get my head around at first. While I'm still not a big fan of the style, it's easier to manage now.) in order to examine new themes. One of these themes which Faulkner dealt with was the clash of the human personality against outside influences/the outside world.

The context of the novel - which was published in 1930 can be viewed as the late 1920s. I believe it was this period which Faulkner (along with his upbringing) drew upon for the novel itself. The crash of th
e stock market in 1929 and flow on affects to the economy, I feel factor into Faulkner's tale - the poverty which the Bundren's live in is a prime example of this.

However, the period it was recieved in (at least initially is the 1930s), however I realise that due to the immense success of the work, the novel has been re-evaluated as the context changes - something evident in
research from books in the library (as a rule, old) and modern internet sources.

Expected outcomes

I believe that my research will continue to reveal facts about the novel and context it was produced in. I feel that I should focus more upon the context it was produced in and slightly less upon the themes examined by the novel - as that is the area we will be ultimately examined upon.

Images related to PART A, series Number One

Thursday, July 21, 2005


This is the introduction to my blog. It will describe the following topics:

  • - My rational for choosing "As I Lay Dying"
  • - The results of my initial research
  • - Predicted or expected outcomes for my research
  • - How I envisage the project working out
Rational for choosing "As I Lay Dying"

I chose the novel "As I Lay Dying" for three main reasons. Firstly, I have been meaning the read the book for a while - as I have a copy at home. Secondly, the story of the conditions under which William Faulkner wrote the novel "As I Lay Dying" are interesting too me. The story is roughly as follows: That Faulkner wrote the novel on the back of an upturned wheelbarrow in between shifts at a power plant (he operated the boilers) over the course of six weeks, all without changing a single word. Thirdly, the novel was provided to the year as a suggested text for this project on the sheet given to us.

I borrowed a copy of the book over the school holidays and read over it - not for the purposes of study, but just for the purposes of reading it and establishing a basic plot.
The Results of My Initial Research
My initial research (in the school library) was both disappointing and encouraging. The school has about five books specifically about William Faulkner, although many more about 1920s-1940s America which mention him (however briefly). However, I found each of the books focusing on Faulkner Specifically focused on the progression of his work, rather than As I Lay Dying as an individual text - one however had a 20 page chapter on the novel, which was quite encouraging.
Predicted or Expected Outcomes for my Research

I believe that the school's books on Faulkner will provide me with a good starting point for further research into As I Lay Dying - particularly in relation to overall themes dealt with by his work (and the conditions/context he grew up in). However, I feel that the internet and other libraries will serve as a more valuable resource for research into the topic area - if only because of the larger pool of total results of which to draw upon.

How I envisage the Project Working Out

I believe that the project will work successfully due to the well known nature of the text providing me with a large amount of texts to draw upon. However, due to the overall size of the project I believe a sustained effort will be necessary in order to make the project more manageable and in order to complete it in time.