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White Oleander Essay

  • Submitted by: celesteeddy27
  • on February 25, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 2,122 words

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Below is an essay on "White Oleander" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Dewey Dell Bundren
Dewey Dell is the only daughter of Addie and Anse Bundren and has a penchant for seduction and flirtation. She is impregnated by Lafe and wants to go to Jefferson to get an abortion in addition to burying her mother. Each time she enters a pharmacy, her penetrating gaze strikes the men working.
Dewey Dell is the only daughter of Anse and Addie Bundren, and is seventeen years old, the second youngest of the Bundren children. Her name is a yonic allusion to her archetypal role as the embodiment of female sexuality in the novel
Character Analysis
Dewey Dell is Addie’s fourth child and only daughter. She narrates sections 7, 14, 30, and 58. She’s also seventeen and pregnant.

It’s not easy being Dewey Dell. She’s the only girl in a family of boys, now that her mother’s just died, she’s pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want and can’t talk about with anyone, her attempts at getting an abortion have been foiled three times – once by her own father, and the stakes of family obligation are now through the roof (as the surviving female, Dewey Dell has to take on matriarchal duties like cooking and cleaning, and even looking after Vardaman). To put it bluntly, her life sucks.

In fact, the only thing worse than being a pregnant Dewey Dell is being a pregnant Dewey Dell in a novel where babies essentially represent sadness, obligation rather than joy, and even decay and death. Addie certainly felt this way about her children, and Dewey Dell seems to realize this, too. She compares herself to a cow who needs to be milked. She refers to the world as a "tub of guts." She is always described in very visceral, even animalistic terms. Check this out, courtesy of Darl: "Squatting, Dewey Dell’s wet dress shapes for the dead eyes of three blind men those mammalian ludicrosities which are the horizons and the valleys of earth" (37.67). Well that’s just about the least appealing description of breasts we’ve ever heard. Being a woman in this novel isn’t about...

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