Topic for discussion: Week 5
As we wrap up As I Lay Dying, what are your final thoughts on the book? Did you find it difficult to get through and, if you did, do you feel it was worth the effort?
Which did you enjoy more, this book or Dubliners?
I'll answer my own question: I think I already told you that I'm not a fan of Faulkner's. I can't say I really enjoy reading his work. I do have great admiration for the way he reveals his characters, and I do feel that I learn something valuable every time I read him; however, I feel that I have to read him so actively--to work so hard--that I lose sight of the big picture and don't get that feeling of being "caught up" in the narrative. Your mileage may vary, of course. I prefer Dubliners because I feel I can multi-task a little more: read the stories on a surface level, for the plot alone, then go back and read more closely to pick up the deeper themes. To use art as a metaphor, both Joyce and Faulkner are painting a portrait of a specific time and culture, using a fine brush, conveying lots of detail.
Faulkner and Joyce are both members of what's known as the Modernist movement. Modernism was seen in art, literature, music, and architecture in the early 20th century. In literature, it was often represented by stream-of-consciousness writing, disjointed timelines, and multiple points of view. Kafka was also a Modernist, as was Virginia Woolf, whose To The Lighthouse we'll be reading later in the semester. (Joyce's more Modernist works were Ulysses and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.)
Some other Modernist authors and poets you may have heard of include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and W. B. Yeats.
So, any final thoughts on Faulkner or Joyce? Please share.