Answer to Question A
In underworld, Odysseus (Homer, The Odysseus, Book XI) meets souls of dead heroes and among them he meets the ghost of Agamemnon who tells that he was murdered by his wife: “As I lay down the woman with the dog’s eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.” (Homer, 1998). This quote was taken by Faulkner as a basis for his novel because he saw a connection between Clytemnestra’s refusal to close Agamemnon’s eyes after he died and Bundren’s indignity to Addie’s body as they put her in the coffin upside-down. Obviously, in novel there are a lot of eyes-related issues. However, this quote has also a metaphorical meaning. Addie (dead mother of the family) cannot close her eyes and not to observe the actions of her family. Agamemnon was punished by his wife for the sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia to Artemis. Addie was not a good mother and wife but she is a person that had to execute her social duty and have children. Therefore, even after her death she could not have a rest. The family, finally, unable to get rid of Addie’s influence buries her body in the land of her ancestry. The novel has an obvious connection to scene in the underworld and Agamemnon story. Agamemnon was hostage of the god’s will. Addie was hostage of morals of 20th (woman has the only purpose is to give birth a child). However, the family journey to bury a dead mother cannot be compared with The Odyssey. In fact, “The Odyssey” is a heroic drama that all about greatness and adventures of Odyssey but As I lay down is a drama about family quest and issue of kindred.
Answer to Question B
Rachel Samson was so shocked how family treated the Addie’s body so she cries: “It’s a outrage... a outrage’ (Faulkner, 1991), by the way Lula Armstid said the exact same words later in the novel. Despite, the Addie’s family was trying to do a noble thing to fulfill their mother’s wish. The course smell badly and they were very careless with coffin, so many people thought that they showed disrespect through such outrages treatment of Addie’s body.
Answer to Question C
The youngest Addie’s son (Vardaman) came from a fishing trip and knew that his mother is dying. When father shouted at him to clean and gut a fish, he dropped the fish. As he sees a fish that is destined to die, he is terrified and understands that, “My mother is a fish.” (Faulkner, 1991). His mother like a fish is caught to die.
Addie hated her students that they violated her aloneness. In her pre-motherhood, she hoped that when she will have the children of her own, she would not need aloneness. However, with birth of her first child, she understood that she needs aloneness even more.
Answer to Question D
The central voice at the end is a voice of Cash (the oldest Addie’s son) who is a carpenter and who made a coffin for her. I think it is appropriate because he is the most rational and empathic member of his family and he is also much more trustworthy narrator than Darl with his vivid imagination and imminent insanity.
Answer to Question E
In his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, by confusing a reader with an apparently at first sight disjointed collage of different images and characters, Thomas Eliot refers to the modernistic style of Imagism, which is a literature movement. This movement advocates a conception of exact descriptions based on heterogeneous images from which poetry has to be created. Imagist applies the articulate and lucid language. In Eliot’s poem modernistic pattern of alienation and fragmentation that lead to pessimistic and hopeless stance in life represented by big dirty city, unhappy and bored main hero as well as his romantic agonizing about woman who he is going to meet for tea (Eliot, 2010).