As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner

by contributor

Sharon Fleming

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Overview
Author
William Faulkner
Year Published
1930
Type
Fiction
Genre
Novel
About the Title

William Faulkner’s title comes from a favorite speech of his in Homer’s Odyssey, Book XI. Odysseus has traveled to the Underworld, essentially to get directions. Once there, however, he’s bombarded by the ghosts of all his dead comrades. One in particular is Agamémnon, who tells the story of his own death. He’s super pissed that 1) he was killed by his evil, scheming, adulterous wife, and 2) that witch wouldn’t close his eyes as he was dying. The line goes a little something like this: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog’s eyes [that would be his wife he’s talking about here] would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades [a.k.a. the Underworld]."

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