Tag Archives: nihilists

Peabody’s notions about death

I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind – and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.

William Faulkner, “As I Lay Dying,” in As I Lay Dying (New York: Vintage Books, 1930), 43-44.

Notes: It’s really interesting for a doctor to take such a stance on death. He completely discredits it in any medical sense. I think there’s some slight foreshadowing here, since the Bundren family does uproot for Addie’s burial.