Directions: Answer one of the following questions and write an essay about it.
1. “The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling “Kilroy was here” on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.” –William Faulkner
Using Faulkner’s own definition of what the goal of an artist is, consider: has Faulkner, by writing “As I Lay Dying” accomplished the so called “aim of every artist”?
2. “I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry ?rst, ?nds he can’t, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.” –William Faulkner
Do you agree with Faulkner’s evaluation of his own work? Do you see moments of “failed” poetry in “As I Lay Dying”?
3. “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” –William Faulkner
This is one of Faulkner’s most famous responses to what he believes Art is. In light of what you’ve read in “As I Lay Dying,” do you agree that the book helps “man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.?
4. What value does a book like “As I Lay Dying” have?
5. Is “As I Lay Dying” a good novel? Be specific. Be clear about the standards you apply in order to answer the question.