“Sometimes I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.” –Cash
I, as a writer, kind of salivate at Faulkner’s narrative style.
The quote is from a character in Faulkner‘s novel As I Lay Dying, which I just finished reading for my American Lit class this weekend. Basically, it’s a mock epic about the very dysfunctional Bundren familythat takes up a treacherous journey to bury wife/mother Addie Bundren in her hometown.
The novel is divided up into short narrations by various characters–giving several obscure perspectives to see the plot through: the intense eye of the eldest brother Cash, the intuitive and insanely observant Darl, the horse-loving mystery son Jewel, the pregnant-at-sixteen Dewey Dell, the innocent and confused eye of little brother Vardaman, the shell-of-a-man weak patriarch Anse, the corpulent doctor Peabody, the over-religious Cora Tull, her practical husband Vernon Tull, and others.
Each unique character portrayal will make you stare in fascination. From the first image of Cash building Addie’s coffin in her view (before she dies), to Jewel rescuing the coffin from the barn Darl set on fire, even those with a good grasp of understanding will probably be asking “Seriously, what’s going on here?”–and it’s perfectly human to take a peek at Sparknotes for some assistance.
I mean…take the classic quoted chapter of the whole novel:
My mother is a fish.
P.S. I hope you realize this has nothing to do with the metalcore band As I Lay Dying. Faulkner made the name first.