Tag Archives: Obsession

Modernist style


“I made it on the bevel.
1. There is more surface for the nails to grip.
2. There is twice the gripping-surface to each seam.
3. The water will have to seep into it on a slant. Water moves easiest up and down or straight across.
4. In a house people are upright two thirds of the time. So the seams and joints are made up-and-down. Because the stress is up-and-down.
5. In a bed where people lie down all the time, the joints and seams are made sideways, because the stress is sideways.
6. Except.
7. A body is not square like a crosstie.
8. Animal magnetism.
9. The animal magnetism of a dead body makes the stress come slanting, so the seams and joints of a coffin are made on the bevel.
10. You can see by an old grave that the earth sinks down on the bevel.
11. While in a natural hole it sinks by the center, the stress being up-and-down.
12. So I made it on the bevel.
13. It makes a neater job.” (82-83)

William Faulkner, As I lay dying, The Modern Library Editions, 2000

Notes : Chapter that displays Cash’s obsession with the coffin. It  reflects the character’s personality and  inner thoughts.  Faulkner is modern is his style and  use of different forms, such as this listing. Chapters as multiple perspectives. Use of repetitions still distinctive in this novel, as a way to express the characters’ inner obsessions.