Tag Archives: transcendence

Numerology and Ritual in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying

In As I Lay Dying William Faulkner employs numerology to concretize the ritual of death as well as draw the reader’s attention to its function and significance. Although multiple studies have offered detailed analyses of the text, none until today has tackled the subject of numbers in association with the theme of death. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that the writer used numerology in order to present the nihilism of the human condition, to outline the manner by which the experience of nothingness can transform a pessimistic view into an optimistic one, and to show that the process of redemption and transcendence can spring from “the Reductio ad absurdum of all human endeavor” (Volpe 131). The article will also stress that death constitutes a major transitional state through which, Addie, the protagonist, must travel from this world to the next; and elucidate the characters, the plot, and the structure of the novella via the signified nuances attached to the chosen numbers.

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