An Interesting Item from E-mail

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Once again, I must admit to being ignorant of the agenda, politics, or ideas behind the Glenmary Home Missioners; however, this story was interesting in a way that I'm sure the author did not intend. From it I learned that there is a town in Mississippi by the name of "Vardaman."

Now, why would this even be of minor interest? Well, one of the point-of-view characters of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is named Vardaman. And though I read the book ages ago and have not returned to it, burned into memory is Vardaman's reflection on his mother Addie (the one who lay dying), which constitutes an entire "chapter" of the book. "My mother is a fish." (Read the novel to find out why.)

Anyway, reading the letter from the Priest reminded me of As I Lay Dying and I wonder now why the book has made such a powerful, indelible impression on my mind. I mean I read it thirty or more years ago and I can remember scenes in it vividly. Unlike say the swill I read last week which vanishes into the memory hole almost as soon as the cover is closed.

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Funny you should mention that. I read the book in high school, too many years ago, and "My mother is a fish" is the only thing I remember. For some reason, probably my extraordinary aversion to doing any kind of assigned work, I came out of high school English with a determination to avoid Faulkner (and Hemingway, and Fitzgerald) that has persisted to this day. Curiously, exposure at the same time to Shakespeare did not have the same effect.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 21, 2006 12:43 PM.

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