International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

The River Scene in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and the Postmodernist Myth of the Center: Intertextuality and Linguistic Experimentation
Mourad Romdhani

Trying to cross a flooding river with the coffin of their dead mother, the Bundrens struggle to keep connected to a dead mother’s coffin. To keep hold of their mother’s corpse, most of the Bundren’s grip a rope tied to them. This image is reminiscent of the umbilical rope that connects a living mother to a not-yet living baby in her womb. In the river scene, this picture is ironically redrawn to portray living children connected to a non-living mother in a tomb. This scene is of paramount importance in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (1930) insofar as it inscribes the novel into a postmodernist theory that defies demystifying notions of centrality or grand narratives of absolute truth and ultimate meanings. The river scene testifies to the credibility of a postmodernist argument about the myth of the Center. Such a decisive claim rests upon a new philosophy that signals the end and the “mythification” of any grand narrative of absolute truth, coherence, and linearity.

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