In the novel As I Lay Dying, the central character is the dying matriarch of the Bundren clan, and she is presented as the center of the life of the family in a number of different ways. She represents Faulkner's view of how strong women hold a family together. Albert J. Guerard sees Faulkner as at least partially a misogynist (Guerard 69), but Faulkner's Addie, for instance, is not painted so darkly and is both appealing and repellant at the same time. The fragmented technique of the book, with multiple points of view represented, only emphasizes how central Addie is, since she is the primary issue for every member of her family. Her death and burial marks a turning point for the family as a group and for every member of the family as an individual, and they reflect on what she means to them. In addition, Faulkner includes a number of narrators who are not Bundrens and who offer therefore a more objective view of Addie and the family. Addie's life is a reminder of the secondary place women hold in society at large and how they make up for it, for good or ill, by taking a central place in the family. In Addie's case, she uses violence and anger as a way of making people recognize that she is alive, though in the end she also sees the need to do something else to make it clear that she had existed.
As she faces death, Addie remembers her youth and both the hope she once had and the loss of that hope as she faced the reality of her life:
Dying, Addie remembers her youth. Always she had searched for a relation with people by which to impress her will; at no point did her energy find full release. . . Hard, single-minded, intolerant, Addie is one of those Faulknerian characters concerning whom one finds little to admire except their utter insistence upon taking and struggling with life until the end (Howe 177).
Only one section in the novel is actually narrated by Addie, and this section occurs about halfway through t...