#9 ‘As I Lay Dying’ – Film Review

Creative: Imagine yourself as a film critic, you are to write a response to William Faulkner’s Film ‘As I Lay Dying’ and highlighting two main characters which stood out to you. 

This week I have had the opportunity to view such a highly anticipated recreation of William Faulkner’s novel ‘As I Lay Dying’ through the eyes of the director James Franco. The film translates the strife and disaster that come upon a poor Mississippi family during their trip by horse and wagon to bury their deceased mother and matriarch of their family.  The plot as a whole reflects tensions between what is said and what is left unsaid in their thoughts. This is left for the audience to reflect and manifest who we are and what we think about.

Two characters that struck my attention would be Darl Bundren and Cash Bundren. These two brothers although bounded by blood illustrate completely different personalities on opposite sides of the spectrum. Darl played by James Franco himself was a character who was the most sensitive and articulate, Franco delivered the greatest number of interior monologues in the film revealing such inner disturbed thoughts. Darl’s frustration with the number of encounters the family encompasses leads him to try to end things decisively by lighting a barn on fire which as a result incinerating his dead mother’s coffin. Cash played by Jim Parrak was displayed as a person who lacked emotion and lack heart which the director wanted the audience to see. The character was very disconnected to the other family members. In his words compared to the other characters, we can see that in one way he has more sensical knowledge from the others and through his definitions we can see his vulnerability to the whole situation.

 ‘As I Lay Dying’ forth portrays the demonic views of individuals madness through lack of expression or even a multitude of pain illustrated through acting out. Artistically ‘As I Lay Dying’ reveals to us the horrific events such as the mothers death and the burning down of the barn. This occurs physically, however, emotionally driven events are built up inside each of the characters due to the experiences this family has as they share separate grief over the death of their mother. The film director used a range of art-forms to create a contrast between words and thought through non-verbal ideas in their mind, differing perspectives, and vivid emotions through music and sound.

All in All, ‘As I Lay Dying’ is a tension-filled film which exemplifies the way in which Faulkner’s novel was written. The film exposes the inner persona of each character as well as shows them that through all the negative battles that this journey was meant to happen to develop who they are as people.

 

Until next time, this is Annaliese Ferraro signing off for this film to be a success!

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#8 The many voices of Faulkner

CREATIVE: Using any one of Faulkner’s 15 character voices as a guide, create a paragraph in the voice of a character totally different to yourself. Think about people you might have overheard on the train or bus, or someone you might have seen randomly on a street corner. Invent their life, their consciousness in a paragraph. Who knows it might become the start of a larger work!

Clear as day… the sky,

Something so blue and pure that never can let me down,

A wondrous entity, a mystery, the source of my clarity,

How can this being so still in its own natural habitat be the one constant, which is my reason for waking up,

The simplicity is un-caning; the inner beauty is just striking as the many emotions of one’s self-arises,

Deep blue intertwining with thunderous greys allude to the dark times ahead,

It is like the periods in life that I am finally content are where darkness invites itself to the party of my life,

Except,

I enjoy such a guest,

I fail to notice it’s arrival underneath all the bright skies; the charcoal moments are a normality which I do not ever push away.

Annaliese Ferraro 

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Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’ displays a range of voices each different from each other. These voices hold personal opinions; differing tones of voice and even a spark which makes them stand out and be unique.

I created this persona intentionally to introduce someone completely different to myself. However, this voice is the voice of myself that I struggle to address or come to terms with so technically this is foreign. This version of myself isn’t illiterate or finds it difficult to articulate the truth behind all the thought flying in my mind

#5 A letter to James Baldwin

Dear Mr. Baldwin,

Firstly, I would like to show my many praises for the writing you have produced. In my honest opinion, the raw and powerful messages opaquely reveal itself through your writing “Going to Meet the Man”. Although, the simplicity of your writing portrays one side when we as readers look deeper into this particular story the gruesome and barbaric words are highlighted even more and as a result of this enlighten your audience with the horrific tone of the time.

I would like to look back on the realization of the character Jesse. He is at a stage where he questions what he observes and how this man has ended up in this position.

“Going to meet the man”, as an overall piece, hones in on the desperation of the white people in that period of time. However, the youth, in this case, Jesse, from a young age is opened to the vindictive violence which was conducted. The passage that has created a visually present moment is where Jesse remembers a time when his father allowed him to see the abuse of the “nigger”.

The language you have used to express this create a momentary initial impact, however, leaving a stained mark on the reader. When Jesse describes his environment the alliteration in “blood bubbling”, illustrates the freshness of the blood and how real this act of violence is for a young boy. As well his description of “the veins of the neck jumped out”, personifies the shock, which occurs, and the humanistic picture which you tried to paint.

You also include the thoughts of the human psyche with use of rhetorical questions and repetition in “What did he do? What did the man do? What did he do? – but he couldn’t ask his father.”. The child has some moments of conscience but instead roles with the events that are occurring. This shows your readers how Jesse as a child is trying to make sense of what he has just witnessed. As he asks himself what did this man do to deserve such gruesome forms of torture. Through this particular line, you have successfully expressed the character’s youth and innocence in question an experience as well as growing up believing that this act is normal. Seeing his father, a role model for him, conducting this act makes it feel believable as well like it has a purpose or validity behind it.

Through the use of your specifically chosen language techniques, you have been able to portray such a moving piece from more than one angle. However, in the eyes of Jesse, this barbaric moment is seen as something that drives him through to his future because he deems it as normal.

This is an incredibly artistic and powerful text, thank you for sharing a slight insight into the incredibly difficult times of the African Americans, I truly am a fan of your work.

Kind Regards,

Annaliese Ferraro

American Literature Student.

 

Page 434 – “Going to meet the man” – James Baldwin

#3 Dickinson, The Mother of Poetry

Emily Dickinson, an inspiration to all and commonly recognised as “Mother of Poetry”. Dickinson writes in an abstract form, through my eyes a collection of her poems surround personal freedom. Today, I choose to write about a persona who is trapped through society grind. Re-telling in the theme of Dickinson, however, spun with my personal writing style.

I cannot live without you,
She said through all the liquor and wine –
He brought fair speech, however –
We are only made from the Divine.

This lust she speaks of,
is only just that.
Her desire has been manipulated –
from a girl fame wrapped.

Told – ‘Love is a riddle,
cloaked by thirst’,
But maybe it’s just greed
that got to her first.

Her appetite is pleased,
for only a short while –
she starts to grieve
such a quiet denial.

The words “I love you”
are never mentioned through this tidal.

As her mind felt freak-show closes in
So does her true yearning.

The bottle becomes empty,
as the last drop slashes down the aisle.

– Annaliese Ferraro

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