World Literature: A Comperative Analysis Between The Sorrow of War and As I Lay Dying

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A Quest for Closure:

A comparative analysis between Ninh’s The Sorrow of war and Faulkner’s

As I Lay Dying 

World Literature Assignment #2


Shay Sidelnik


IB English A1 HL

The International School Nido de Aguilas

Ms. Sandie Bartel

June 7th, 2007

Word Count: 1500

Shay Sidelnik        Page         0233-049

Bao Ninh’s novel, The Sorrow of War, and William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, are two novels, which contain a lot of similarities and differences between them. Most of the similarities that exist between the novels are between the protagonists from both novels. The protagonists whoa share a few similarities are Kien from The Sorrow of War, and all of the living members of living members of the Bundren family in As I Lay Dying. During the entire novel of The Sorrow of War Kien is on a quest to find closure for all the death he has encountered during the war. Four of Kien’s attempts are very similar to the attempts the five remaining Bundren family for closure in As I Lat Dying. One of Kien’s attempts to get rid of his sorrows and get some closure is when he attempts to burn the novels he has written about the war. Darl Bundren attempts something very similar when he tries to burn his mother’s coffin. Though both characters are attempting to rid themselves from their sorrows, Kien’s sorrows are his memories from the past, from war, while for Darl the cause of his sorrows is his mother’s corpse, which is right there with him at all times and also causes many more sorrows for the rest family. Another effort for closure by Kien is when he goes back to the forest to look for the dead bodies. Kien hopes that by putting to rest those he has lost will finally allow his scared soul get some rest as well. In a way this attempt is very similar to what cash’s attempt with Adie’s coffin. Cash seems to have the same hope as Kien, which is that by doing this deed for his mother he will get some closure. Another of Kien’s attempts for closure is also very similar to Dewy-Dell’s and Jewel’s attempt for closure. Both Dewy-Dell and Jewel attempt to forget their sorrows by getting rid of that object which reminds them of it, Kien attempts the same thing only for Kien no object is needed to remind him of his past suffering. The last similarity is Anse’s replacement of his diseased wife, and Kien’s replacement of his memories with fictive 

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Shay Sidelnik        Page 2        0233-049

stories. Both characters are trying to replace their sorrows although Anse is replacing it with something concrete and Kien with something spiritual.

        Both Kien and Darl Bundren attempt to get some closure by burning that which reminds them of their sorrows. The difference between the actions taken by these two characters is that Darl attempts get rid of his mother’s corpse, which is there with him at all time, constantly adding more issues and sorrows to his life. Meanwhile, although Kien’s action is looking for the same result, it is much more spiritual. Both characters are ...

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