What are the most prominent social issues in As I Lay Dying?

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Although race is an overwhelmingly important theme on William Faulkner's work, it is more of a background issue in As I Lay Dying than in his other novels. However, racial inequality for Faulkner was one of the defining issues of the South and was central to his characters' sense of identity.

Gender roles were also important for Faulkner. While Faulkner was not as deeply concerned about gender inequality as about race, he still movingly portrayed the effects of patriarchy in limiting the choices of female characters. Even women who are the victims of violence or spousal abuse stay in toxic situations due to lack of alternatives. Addie was trapped in a marriage in which she was unhappy and served almost as an unpaid servant.

Dewey Dell Bundren is a rape survivor seeking an illegal abortion. Poverty and laws both prevent her from having access to safe abortion despite being a teenage rape survivor. She also illustrates the problem of teen pregnancy and the way it can trap girls in a cycle of...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 928 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 11, 2019
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