As I Lay Dying | Study Guide

William Faulkner

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William Faulkner

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

As I Lay Dying is told from a first-person point of view by each of the main characters in the novel, alternating between characters from section to section.


As I Lay Dying is told primarily in the present tense, with some characters occasionally shifting back and forth between the present and past tenses.

About the Title

The title, As I Lay Dying, comes from a line in Homer's Odyssey. When Odysseus encounters the ghost of Agamemnon in the Underworld, Agamemnon says that his wife betrayed and murdered him, adding, "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades." The allusion introduces an inversion of the classic quest myth, where the focus is on the dying, not the dead, the identity of the referenced I, and the destructive effects of the journey.


This study guide and infographic for William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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