In the novel, As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner’s utilization of symbolism in animals displays the Bundren’s attempts to cope with the newly death of their mother. The mechanism of familiarity is displayed throughout the story to depict the instability the Bundrens feel now that they lost their head of the house. Whether it’s Jewel’s horse that represents his adoration for his mother and freedom, the fish that represents Vardaman’s mother, or the cow painfully filled with milk that represents the burden that Dewey Dell contains, each of this character’s objectivism leads back to the missing presence of their mother..
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After Addie’s death, Vardaman goes fishing where he catches a fish, he then states I can feel where the fish was in the dust. It is cut up into pieces of not-fish now, not-blood on my hands and overalls.Then it wasn’t so. It happened then. And now she is getting so far ahead I cannot catch her.His comparison of his mother to the dead fish displays his naive understanding of how death works. He does not know how to process death so the only way he can think of it is as his mother is no more in the form she once was, similar to the fish who’s no longer in their natural form. My mother is a fish is his my common monologue when he speaks. Being a child, the complexity of death is hard to wrap one’s brain around. Vardaman being the youngest child, and stating his mother is a fish as mentioned shows that he doesn’t really understand his mother’s death,