As I Lay Dying
"Shmoop was a fish."
William Faulkner was tweeting before tweeting was even a thing. Don't believe us? Check out Chapter 19 of As I Lay Dying:
@addiebundren my mother is a fish #modernism
Okay, we might have added the @ and the hashtag, but Faulkner took care of the rest. As I Lay Dying chronicles the Bundren family’s quest to bury their mother, via brief sections, each one narrated by one of 15 different characters.
In this course, you'll follow the family along their journey:
- You'll dig into Faulkner's fast-paced, experimental style through interactive reading activities.
- You'll complete projects and assignments to help you situate As I Lay Dying in its literary and historical context.
- You'll tackle Common Core-aligned activities, designed to get you thinking more critically about all that literary modernism has to offer.
Unit 1. As I Lay Dying
In this short course, you'll journey through the South with the Bundren family—a bunch of ne'er-do-wells—and conquer one of the most important novels of the 20th century.
Sample Lesson - Introduction
Lesson 2: Friends and Family
Now that we're good and settled into the 1920s, let's get cozy with our characters.
In the next few sections, you'll start to see their personalities and attitudes emerging. But don't expect Faulkner to outright tell you what to think about them; no, he has subtler tactics:
- He reveals each character through their inner thoughts. That means you'll get a nice zombie sandwich (i.e., a real good feel for their brains) and some inside info that no one else has.
- Another great way to get to know a character? Through the ways others think of them. And since our characters are very...opinionated...we'll get a sense of their opinions about the other characters pretty quickly.
- Last but not least, we'll figure out these characters through their actions. We'll examine what our characters do as they wait for the inevitable passing of Addie in the next few sections. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
Sample Lesson - Reading
Reading 1.2: As I Lay Dying, Sections 6-9
More to see, more to hear. Spend some quality time with your new favorite family, the Bundrens, by reading Sections 6-9 (pages 21-38 in our edition.)
While you read, consider the ways in which Faulkner represents each character—and brush up on our definition of characterization if you're feeling rusty.
Don't wanna miss a thing? Our summaries will keep you in the loop.
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 1.2a: You Have 8 New Friend Requests
Having trouble keeping all the brothers straight? Yeah, us too.
Without a constant and reliable narrator, it can be tricky to remember—or, uh, figure out—who's who. In this activity, we'll close read the text descriptions and details to make a profile for each of our characters.
Believe us: it'll come in handy later.
Fill out the following information for each Bundren. Your answers don't need to be in complete sentences, but definitely use textual evidence so we know you're not pulling it out of nowhere. (Of course, you might have to use your imagination on some of this.)
Sample Lesson - Activity
Quiz 1.2b: Sec. 6-9
- Course Length: 3 weeks
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
- Course Type: Short Course
- High School
Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?
Common Core Standards
The following Common Core Standards are covered in this course:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1