'It Wasn't on a Balance': Slippage in <i>As I Lay Dying</i>

Francoise Buisson

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Abstract :
International audience
As I Lay Dying includes quite a few references to balance and suspension, as suggested by Cash's handbook, and this obsession with equilibrium and gravitational forces contrasts with slippage, which is defined here as a form of literai and figurative fall also linked with transience and randomness. The quest for balance constitutes a way of withstanding slippage and the Bundrens are sometimes compelled to act as acrobats or equilibrists. The purpose of the article is to highlight the major role played by geometry in the nove!, which presents the reader with a topsy-turvy world mirroring an elemental imbalance. The latter is also triggered offby Addie's passing and her coffin itselfkeeps slipping away from men' s control, just as the text may slip away from the reader' s hermeneutic efforts. The texture of the monologues is indeed characterized by discontinuity in style, syntax and typography; such narrative breaks are but a mise en abyme of the slipping contact between signifier and signified denounced by Addie in her monologue. Finally, one may wonder whether balance is restored at the end of the navel and if Cash's picture of the re/membered farnily puts an end to the elusiveness of meaning.
Published : 2018-05
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Arts / Langages : Transitions et Relations (ALTER) ; Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour (UPPA)


Francoise Buisson, « 'It Wasn't on a Balance': Slippage in <i>As I Lay Dying</i> », Cycnos, 2018-05. URL : https://hal-univ-pau.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02170630