Matricide and the Mother’s Revenge: as I Lay Dying

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The article discusses Doreen Fowler’s interpretation of Addie’s character in the novel As I Lay Dying. Fowler sees Addie as a threat to patriarchal society and identifies her duty as to be alive, but the author questions whether denying the fluidity of life is equivalent to ignoring the existence of a mountain stream. They suggest that Addie’s duty to be alive is parallel to the earth’s balancing itself, and that Fowler’s analysis of maternity as matter should be seen as a coping mechanism for the family’s fear and uncertainty after Addie’s death, rather than an instrument of patriarchy. The author argues that the family’s attempts to create distance between themselves and their mother are forced and artificial, and driven by a desire to subdue their pain and pursue a new happiness.

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In her analysis of “As I Lay Dying,” Doreen Fowler argues that Addie plays a significant role in disrupting the patriarchal norm. Fowler views Addie as a “plurality that poses a risk to difference,” representing the foundation of individualism, language, culture, and authority (319). However, what stands out is Fowler’s assertion that Addie’s character remains unchanged and her primary obligation is simply “to exist,” which presents an intriguing contradiction (317).

Denying the symbolism of “being alive” as fluidity and cyclic nature would be like ignoring the fluid existence of a mountainous stream. Addie’s duty to “be alive” is comparable to the earth’s need to balance itself. With Addie now deceased, it would make more sense to see Fowler’s analysis of maternity as an undeniable denial in coping with death rather than as a way to diminish the mother’s existence in order to support patriarchal order.

Before we attribute the symbolism in the novel to a deliberate effort to promote patriarchy, it is crucial to acknowledge that Bundren’s alienation is a consequence of sudden instability, fear, and uncertainty. These emotions arise from Addie’s death and compel the family to employ desperate measures to create a false separation between them and their mother. The purpose behind this is to suppress their pain by attempting to separate elements that are inherently connected, all in pursuit of a new form of happiness.

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Matricide and the Mother’s Revenge: as I Lay Dying. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from

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