As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying 19. Vardaman Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Vardaman states: "My mother is a fish."
In what is perhaps the novel's most famous sentence, Vardaman connects the idea of his dead mother with the dead fish he caught for dinner. Vardaman's statement of course stems from the imagination of a six-year-old, but also represents a philosophical exploration of existence. To express himself, Vardaman links his mother and the fish, both dead, using a transitive property that permits him to think they are the same thing.
Themes
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
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