- I hated Anse so much.
- I hated Anse so much.
I don’t know what to say. I had high hopes for this book as it came recommended by many people, and I sort of felt ignorant for not having read any of Faulkner’s books. I was mad for pretty much the entire time while reading. I was infuriated at the ignorance and self-centered behavior of both mom and dad Bundren and I felt terrible for the children who started to exhibit similar attitudes without knowing better. And most maddening was the fact that the majority of other characters were so nice and helpful and understanding and giving. Anse Bundren, although not a technically a villain, is probably one of the most villainous protagonists I’ve encountered. What a lazy bastard!
Glad (yes I think he was glad) that his wife is finally dead, and that most likely he doesn’t have to fulfill her dying wish of being buried in her hometown, all he thinks about is getting a new set of teeth. Now don’t get me wrong, I like nice teeth like the rest of us, but if you’ve lived many, many years without them, a few more month won’t make a difference. To keep up appearances of course, Anse has to arrange for his wife’s transport. The twist is that the weather and other such things aren’t cooperating at all giving him an easy way out to not take on the journey with his wife’s body. But somehow his ego takes over. He does it anyway, just so he can say he did. Just so he can show everyone what a committed and devoted husband and father he is. Meanwhile his kids are starving, one son breaks his leg on the trip, one son almost drowns, the daughter needs an abortion, the neighbors are talking about him and losing their own possessions trying to help his family, yet Anse shows no signs of gratitude or change. He only shows pride. He is still jobless and too good to take on work. His kids are constantly thinking about how to make any money. They’re getting jobs along the way to stay afloat. But oh boy is Anse looking forward to his new teeth.
The mother is not any better. Having had an affair at some point one of her sons is not Anse’s. And good for her other children, this one is also her favorite. Being overall fairly neglectful as a mother in general, she tops the cake by making sure everyone knows who her adored child is and what the others mean to her.
In the end, no one succeeds. Life still sucks just like always. Addie finally gets buried in Jefferson. One of their sons gets send to an asylum for mental illness. And the daughter is robbed of her money by Anse (now she can’t afford the abortion anymore at all), so that he can finally buy his new teeth. Did he at least learn a lesson? The answer is no. Instead he takes himself a new wife, and most likely the cycle begins anew.
I am giving this story 3 spades because I did like Faulkner’s language and how the story evolved through different viewpoints of various characters. And yes, Faulkner succeeded in making me detest a character like I haven’t in a long time (or maybe ever), so props to him for that. But honestly, I don’t think I get why this story was necessary. Maybe it was just too real for me. I am hoping to read more Faulkner pieces to get a better understanding of what kind of author he was and what he was trying to accomplish with his writings.