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As I Lay Dying Summary and Analysis of Section 4


Fourth Section (Darl, Anse, Samson, Dewey Dell, Tull, Darl, Tull, Darl, Vardaman; pages 96-139):

Darl narrates. Jewel approaches in the distance. The Bundrens pass Tull’s place slowly, waving. Cash observes that the body will stink soon, which the casket isn’t balanced for a long flight. A bit later on, Jewel passes them rapidly, providing no recommendation, the horse kicking up mud. A gout of mud lands on the coffin; Cash removes it thoroughly with a tool, and a bit later he gets some leaves as they pass under a tree and begins cleaning up the stain.

Anse tells. He talks about hard working males never ever revenue; it’s the abundant in towns. Life is severe, however God’s will be done; the just will be rewarded in paradise. They reach Samson’s, but the bridge near there has likewise washed up. Anse comforts himself with the thought that he will quickly get those false teeth.

Samson narrates. He is on his deck with some buddies, MacCullum and Quick. Quick goes down to the Bundrens to notify them that the bridge has been rinsed. Samson invites them to remain the night; the Bundrens accept however refuse dinner. They sleep out in the barn. That night, Samson’s better half Rachel is disgusted by the transportation of the body; she lashes out at Samson, for the awful things males do to their other halves, overlooking the reality that it was Addie’s wish to be buried far away. Samson thinks he can smell the body, but believes it may be his imagination. The next morning, the Bundrens set out to backtrack, to look for a location to cross the river. They do not say goodbye. Samson heads out to his barn, still believing he can smell it, and after that he realized it’s more than his creativity: a fat buzzard squats nearby.

Dewey Dell tells. She considers Addie’s death, wishing there had been time to think, time to let Addie pass away, time to wish she had time to let Addie die. Dewey Dell feels naked under Darl’s look. She remembers a dream where she eliminated him. She remembers a nightmare where she did not know where or who or what she was, nor what was taking place. The buzzard remains in the sky. They pass by Tull’s again, Anse waving as before. She keeps insisting that she thinks in God.

Vernon Tull tells. He takes his mule and follows the Bundrens to the shattered bridge. Anse looks out throughout the water, not able to come up with any kind of plan or decide. Jewel lashes out at Tull, and Dewey Dell looks at Tull with hatred. Cash tries to work out a prepare for crossing. Gem asks Tull if they can utilize his mule; he refuses, which exasperates Jewel.

Darl tells. He remembers years back, when Jewel was always going to sleep at odd times, and dropping weight. His mother thought it was illness, and versus Anse’s wishes covered for Gem, doing his tasks and getting the other kids to do them. Dewey Dell found that Gem was sneaking out at night. Money and Darl thought it was a lady, but eventually Money followed Jewel and discovered the truth, though he didn’t inform Darl. One early morning Jewel got back with a gorgeous horse. He ‘d been working nights clearing a field to earn the money. Addie, who had actually been stressing sick about Jewel, began to cry. That night, as Gem slept and Addie supervised him weeping, Darl realized that Gem had a different dad than the remainder of the kids.

Vernon Tull tells. He accompanies Anse, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman across the bridge, the middle of which is shattered and sinks down into the water. The crossing is scary; the waters are quick and thick with debris. Now the others should try to cross.

Darl tells. The siblings argue about the best way to cross the river. They pick a plan: Cash will drive, and Darl, riding on horseback, will hold a rope tied to the wagon, to support it. The river is treacherous. Darl leaves the wagon, which tilts, threatening to dispose the casket and tools into the water. The mules drown.

Vardaman tells. Cash loses his grip on the casket. Vardaman runs back and forth, yelling at Darl to catch the coffin. He believes the coffin will escape quick because his mom is a fish. Darl grabs a hold of the casket underwater, but finally when he emerges from the water his hands are empty.


Logistical issues dominate this part of the novel. The need to tough part of the journey comes right at the start; the river needs to be crossed, however heavy rains have led to the greatest water levels in memory, and the bridges have been damaged. To make these logistical matters worse, the body has started to stink. The odor of carrion is starting to bring in fat buzzards, heavy with water. The buzzards are a dark and heavy sign of death, and the nasty physicality of death. They will follow the Bundrens all the way to Addie’s burial, growing in number all along the way.

Anse never ever rather handles to be a likable, or even forgivable character, even when he is speaking. His interior monologue has to do with the inability of the bad sincere male to make a go of it, however it’s clear that he’s lazy and weak. On the banks of the river, his children have to make all of the decisions. He is not efficient in choosing anything; he is too weak and too scared to take responsibility for even the simplest of choices.

The family displays an odd, frequently pitiful mix of dependency and pride; this paradoxical combination originates from their severe poverty. When remaining in Samson’s bar, they contradict much of the hospitality Samson offers, out of pride. However it is clear from the earlier monologues that the Bundrens have been dependent on next-door neighbors’ help often times in the past. The phenomenon of the Bundrens bringing the body to Jefferson takes on a whole brand-new measurement when seen from the eyes of outsiders. We see them through the eyes of people who typically look down on them, however our compassion for the characters, and the fact that we have actually seen things from the Bundrens’ perspective, makes this perspective uncomfortable. When others condescend to the Bundrens, the reader pities the household a lot more. Anse is the character who remains farthest from a lot of readers’ sympathies. But the others all command our sympathy, even regard; to see them looked on with contempt hurts.

Darl’s relationship to his household and his neighbors is paradoxical. He is at when the most connected to and the most isolated from all of individuals around him. His incredible powers of instinct take on a mystic measurement; years ago he discovered, in a flash of insight, that Gem’s father is not Anse. The leap recommends that Darl knew his mom better than any of the other Bundren kids could have. Her favoritism of Jewel had much to do with the fact that he was something that was hers and not Anse’s.

However Darl’s insights likewise make him disliked. The book has plenty of separated voices, but isolation is typically cherished. Dewey Dell states that she feels naked in front of Darl’s instinctive gaze: in her dreams, she plays out dreams of killing him (107-8). Darl is fiercely devoted to her in his own method: she observes that “He’ll do what I state. He always does” (108 ), but his commitment is not recompense enough for how susceptible she makes him feel.

Darl’s eyes are the most common source of discomfort. Dewey Dell recoils under his look. Tull sums up Darl succinctly, “He is looking at me. He do not say absolutely nothing; simply looks at me with them queer eyes of hisn that makes folks talk. I always say it ain’t never ever been what he done so much or said or anything so much as how he takes a look at you. It’s like he had actually got into the within you, someway. Like somehow you was taking a look at yourself and your behaviors outen his eyes” (112 ). The look into Darl’s eyes is the secret, for other characters, to knowing that their isolation has actually been violated. Darl permeates deeply into the consciousness of others. In spite of the effective loneliness of many of the characters, with Dewey Dell being amongst the loneliest of them all, this mental intimacy is not welcome.

Gem has lots of intense pride, as well as a selfishness and hostility that separate him from his family in a different method. Previously in the unique, Dewey Dell insisted that Gem “don’t care about anything he is not kin to us in caring, not care-kin” (22 ). His intense temper and pride are sometimes self-defeating. He declines Samson’s offer of feed for his horse (103 ); he lashes out at Tull and then appears upset a minute later on when he asks Tull for help and Tull declines (113 ). He is, sometimes, very self-centered. He works himself tirelessly for the cash to purchase his horse, forcing his siblings to pick up the slack around the Bundren farm. But Gem’s isolation might originate from a sense that he is not a full brother or sister to the others; we never hear directly from Gem if he knows the reality of his parentage, although definitely it is hinted. And living with Anse, Gem has actually found out to frown at and abhor the begrudging generosity with which Anse treats his kids. When Jewel returns with the recently bought horse, Anse is upset that he’ll need to feed it. Jewel’s action is withering and intense: “He will not never eat a mouthful of yours … Not a mouthful. I’ll eliminate him initially. Do not you never believe it. Do not you never” (123 ). Pride, typically reached ludicrous extremes, and a determination to do everything for himself and by himself, have actually been Gem’s responses to Anse’s half-hearted fathering.

Money and his work continue to be inextricable. When Jewel rides by at a gallop, splashing the casket with mud, Cash diligently eliminates the mud and scrubs out the stain. He works quietly, without voicing any problem to Gem (97 ). While a negative reader may argue that Money is more worried about his piece of woodworking work than what is inside of the casket, a strong case can be made that the casket is the personification of Money’s sorrow. He is not an emotive person, however there is something tender and mild about him. A minimum of on an unconscious level, his sorrow at Addie’s passing is wrapped up in the piece of work he developed for her.

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