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Apple Symbolism

Authors use symbolic reference in works of writing to tie characters and the readers mental and emotional connection with the character’s interactions and others through the text and their personal experiences. Faulkner uses the symbolism of an apple to represent a loss of innocence through the characters; Dewey Dell and Vardaman.

The apple symbolizes the loss of innocence because it represents human sin and fertility.

Faulkner uses the symbolism of an apple to represent a loss of innocence through the characters; Dewey Dell and Vardaman. Dewey Dell’s name meaning fertility and life, she is also associated with an apple which is a symbol of fertility. Dew meaning youth and how quickly it disappears because she is young and is robbed of her innocence when she becomes pregnant. Vardaman the meaning of his name being “Vard” which is Scottish form of the word “ward”, this refers to a child or an orphan. Vardaman has a family, but nobody takes care of him so he is by definition an orphan (a person whose parents are dead).

His mother is dead and Anse being absent throughout his life.
Faulkner symbolically uses the apple to represent the children of Addie Bundren as her fruit that loses their innocence.

The symbolic definition of an apple being the sexual awareness of self and well known as human sin based on the biblical story of Adam and Eve. “She was under the apple tree (pg144)”. This overall is the message of Anse’s awareness of Addie’s death and mans awareness of women’s capabilities in the 1930s. Faulkner uses character expression through Dewy Dell and Vardaman to relay this symbol. Dewey Dell’s loss of innocence is shown through her pregnancy and being unwed. This is another example of loss of innocence in the text. Dewey Dell being pregnant and wanting an abortion. She knows how her pregnancy looks and how she would be juged by others.

Magowan’s understanding of this is pointed out in the quote by him saying, “Oh,” I says. “You got something in your belly you wish you didn’t have” (pg165). Dewey Dell being unmarried is pointed out when she goe to get an abortion from Mosely when he says “You are not married are you?” I said (pg 135). In the 1930s especially with women’s roles being pregnant and unmarried was frowned upon in society, more specifically the Christian community. However, Faulkner uses another example shown through Vardaman.

Vardaman’s loss of previous childhood innocence is shown by children being seen as innocent figures until they hit their teens and were to be seen as innocent, playful, childlike creatures in need of protection, and parents were to be determined to keep childhood a carefree Golden Age. Faulkner has Vardaman as not being portrayed as a normal child. His father ‘Anse Bundren’ did not protect and seemed to care less about how Vardaman ended up due to greed and selfishness. Dewey Dell tries to take up this role when his mother dies, although he has the alternative of a sister his innocence is lost in the process of trying to find ways to cope with his life and his mother’s death.

Being a child and not understanding the concepts of life and death led him to conclude “My mother is a fish” (Faulkner 54). This shown in the picture of a young boy being forced to move into the adult world by overhearing what is turning his world upside down.

The rapid intake of losing his mother along with the fast-paced and confusing knowledge of this and led to Vardaman’s innocence being stripped from him. “Knowledge could potentially teach children inappropriate behaviors” (Jones). This example is shown by Vardaman with his confusion of death and poor conclusion of drilling holes in his mother’s coffin. Yet, another example of poor concept and confusion because he assumes that “She cannot breath”, that a corpse cannot breathe. “And the next morning they found him in his shirttail, laying asleep on the floor like a felled steer, and the top of the box bored clean full of holes and Cash’s new auger broke off in the last one” (48). Dewey Dell “picking the row” with Lafe is another example.

This is shown in her quote with her saying, “And we picked on toward the secret shade and our eyes would drown together touching on his hands and my hands and I didn’t say anything”. I said “What are you doing?” and he said I am picking into your sack”. And so it was full when we came to the end of the row and I could not help it” (pg 18). The meaning of this quote is showing symbolic reference of innocence being loss while explaining Dewey Dell’s loss of virginity.

This was looked down upon in her time because of her age and more importantly not being legally bonded to anyone ‘Lafe’. Her desirable temptation to have sex with Lafe lead to the unfortunate outcome of pregnancy. These examples are used by Faulkner and he used an apple to symbolize these controversial issues.

Evidence showing Faulkner’s symbolic use of the apple relates to the loss of the loss of each character of innocence. Faulkner uses the symbolism of an apple to demonstrate loss of innocence in Dewey Dell and Vardaman to outline the expression of this loss through the plot of the story. Showing his use of an apple in comparison of two main characters Vardaman and Dewey Dell along with the comparative example through biblical text. These examples show the concluding outcome of the loss of innocence and how society viewed and accepted these events in the lives of each character.

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