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As I Lay Dying Summary and Analysis of Section 1


First Area (Darl, Cora, Jewel, Darl, Cora, Dewey Dell; pages 1-23):

Darl Bundren tells. He and his younger brother Jewel come in from the field, passing a worn out cotton home. Darl walks around the shack, but Gem steps through a window and strolls directly on through. They increase a course, showing up the bluff; Vernon Tull’s wagon is by the spring, and in the wagon bed are 2 chairs. At the spring, Gem beverages from a gourd. Darl can hear his bro Money sawing away, building the coffin for their mom, Addie Bundren. Money is developing the casket right outside the house. Darl goes within.

Cora Tull tells. She baked some cakes on engagement, but the town lady customer altered her mind afterward. She now needs to discover another place to offer them. Her child Kate voices her anger about the cancellation: “But those rich town women can change their minds. Poor folks can’t.” Cora views the scenario differently, taking comfort in her God. He sees into people’s hearts. Cora Tull and her family live nearby. They have come to help as Addie Bundren in dying. Cora and her two children, Kate and Eula, assist with the tasks. Darl passes on through the house, and Cora keeps in mind that Eula sees Darl with signs of infatuation.

Darl narrates. He goes onto the back porch, where his father Anse and Vernon Tull relax awaiting Addie to die. Anse Bundren asks after Jewel. Darl takes a deep beverage of water, and thinks about the satisfaction of water and other times he has felt it, particularly in the cool of night. He thinks of masturbating quietly in the dark, and wonders if his older bro Cash, sleeping not far away, was doing the very same thing. Darl replies to his daddy’s question, informing him that Gem remains in the barn harnessing the team. But Darl knows that in fact Gem has actually gone through the barn and out into the pasture, to deal with his horse. The horse, fiery and independent, offers him hell, and Jewel repeatedly attends to the animal as “you boy of a bitch”; it is clear that the horse is Gem’s enthusiasm.

Jewel tells. He despises Money for sawing the casket right where Addie can see him; Money, Jewel thinks, wants to be complimented for his woodworking, wants to flaunt what an excellent son he is. He views the others as lingering for Addie’s death “like buzzards.” He wishes violently that he could be alone with her, so that her last days could be peaceful, private.

Darl tells. He, Jewel, Anse, and Vernon Tull discuss whether Darl and Gem are going to work transporting lumber for Tull. Anse waffles, clearly wanting the cash however scared of appearing cold. The family needs the three dollars. Darl and Anse talk about the possibility that if they go, Darl and Gem may not make it back in time to bid farewell to the passing away Addie. Jewel declines to admit that Addie is that sick. Gem is upset that Tull is even there, and accuses the household of attempting rush Addie into the grave. Anse says that she wants to see the coffin being made, which Jewel is self-centered and does not try to respect her wishes. Darl leaves the choice in Anse’s hands, but the male continues to waffle, clearly desiring the money however doing not have the guts to confess. The bros go to do the job. Darl goes into your house to take a look at his mother. He hears voices.

Cora tells. She sees Darl, looking in on Addie, and thinks more busily than ever that he is the very best of the Bundren lot. Cora has been coming to assist for a while, trying to comfort Addie in her last passes away. She discovers the Bundrens an awful lot. She does not approve of Addie being buried among her family in Jefferson; a spouse she be buried near her partner and children. She thinks that Jewel hates Addie many of all, in spite of Addie’s partiality towards him. And she notices that Dewey Dell, the only daughter of the family, takes to her task fanning Addie with a kind of unhealthy possessiveness. Dewey Dell appears to want Addie all to herself. Cora thinks that Darl pled Anse not to send him off on that lumber job, and that Jewel would rather have 3 dollars than bid farewell to his mother.

Dewey Dell narrates. She keeps in mind when she chose the young kid Lafe to the secret shade, questioning if she would give in to him and have sex. They were gathering, and she told him that if her sack were full by the time they reached the secret shade it suggested that God meant for her to do it. Lafe assisted her fill her sack. She later saw Darl, and he understood without being informed what had actually happened. The interaction between the two is effective, often unspoken, however part of Dewey Dell hates Darl for this nearness: “Which’s why I can talk to him with knowing with disliking since he knows” (23 ). Darl stands in the door now, looking at Addie. He tells Dewey Dell that Addie is going to die prior to he and Gem return.


As I Lay Perishing is an important experiment in story. The language is intense and extremely subjective, with a recognizable modification in language depending upon the narrator. Each area falls somewhere in the range from confessional to stream-of-consciousness. The book is a series of interior monologues, and through these fragmented passages we piece together the story of Addie Bundren’s death and the transport of her body to Jefferson.

The story appears fragmentary, however the story demonstrates exceptional unity: it is restricted to the period of a few days, and the different sub-plots are logically and skilfully interwoven. Faulkner’s innovation remains in how we see this combined set of occasions: we are required to take a look at the story from a variety of different point of views, each of which is extremely subjective. In The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner made use of some aspects of this technique. Nevertheless, As I Lay Passing away presents us with a far higher range of voices. In addition, The Noise and the Fury provides a clearer distinction in between undependable and trusted storytellers. Part 3 of The Sound and the Fury is told by a guy who is clearly wicked, and Part 4 assists clarify the novel through its usage of a more objective third-person narrator. The voices in As I Lay Dying are more various and more uncertain.

Darl is the very first and essential narrator of the novel. He is delicate, intuitive, and smart, and his monologues are a few of the most significant; they are likewise a more elaborate representation of the process of idea. A few of the interior monologues are fairly simple, however Darl’s passages are stream-of-consciousness story. For much of the unique, he functions as a kind of narrative anchor. One of the obstacles of the novel is the total absence of an objective third-person storyteller. Whatever we understand about these characters is informed to us through the lens of a subjective speaker; because of Darl’s level of sensitivity and isolation from the other characters, many readers come to rely greatly on his version of events. He is significant, intelligent, and isolated. Isolation is one of the recurring styles of the novel. Because of the novel’s unique structure, the isolation of the characters is highlighted. Darl tells us what he and alone can observe, and his seclusion is the most poetic; ultimately, it is also the most awful.

From the very first section, the sensory and sensual pictures of the book are a strong component. Although the novel takes the type of interior monologues, each character is powerfully influenced, in his own method, by the large physicality of their world. As I Lay Passing away presents one of the most rugged and rural settings of any Faulkner novel; this South is the South of heartbreaking poverty and life lived close to a frequently unforgiving land. Nature and physical requirements control as a theme: Darl narrates a long passage on the satisfaction of drinking water, and relates a memory of seeing the stars shown in a container filled with water. He is described as constantly having his eyes “filled with the land” by other characters; he sees something worldwide that the others don’t, and his descriptions of nature are typically striking for their sensuality and the uncommon metaphors he employs.

Work belongs to the relationship to the land, and it is an important style of the book. Money is a guy whose work offers him an identity; we hear the noise of his saw prior to we see him, and in all of the characters monologues Money is inseparable from his work as a carpenter. The noise of his saw is the constant background sound that accompanies all of us the method to Addie Bundren’s death. Jewel is furious at Money for constructing the casket right near Addie: “It’s since he stays out there, right under the window, hammering, and sawing on that goddamn box. Where she’s got to see him. Where every breath she draws is full of his knocking and sawing where she can see him saying See. See what a good one I am producing you” (11 ). But Jewel love’s is possessive and possibly ignores Addie’s dreams: she wants to see the casket being made. Cash is providing for her the only thing he can do. He takes his identity from his work as a carpenter, and the coffin is the only present he can provide his mother.

We do not only find out about the unfavorable elements of characters from other characters; characters often inadvertently provide their own faults in their own sections. In Cora Tull’s first area, Cora’s self-righteousness and irritating piety come through loud and clear. Her child Kate seems far healthier in comparison: Kate complains about the insensitivities of the rich. Cora’s attitude of approval appears at first to be kinder, but in the end ends up being self-righteous and similarly angry. She continues to talk with us about the cakes, thinking of them once again and again without reason, and continuing to bask in the power of God, who “can see into the heart” (4 ). Implicit in Cora’s interior monologue is that she feels she does not need to evaluate the rich since her God will. Religious beliefs is a style of the novel, and typically Faulkner is deeply critical of the religious characters of the book. Characters typically are blinded by their own piety.

Poverty is an essential theme of the book. The Bundrens are among the poorest households in any of Faulkner’s books. Jewel and Darl are going to miss their mom’s death for three dollars. The household lives in a continuous state of need, always a little except cash.

Isolation likewise appears in Dewey Dell’s story. She is the only daughter of the household, and Addie’s death will leave her as the sole female. This fact might explain the extreme possessiveness with which she monitors Addie. Dewey Dell is plainly lonesome, and has actually found comfort in the arms of a boy who lives close by. However although she is lonesome and separated and suffers for it, some part of her treasures this isolation. Part of her resents and fears Darl because he intuitively understands her and can see her tricks. Most of the time, Dewey Dell appears extremely partial to Darl. The two take pleasure in a nearness and love that appears to the other family members. But in Dewey Dell’s first section, she voices a bitterness that will describe her actions later: “Which’s why I can talk with him with understanding with hating since he knows” (23 ).

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