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As I Lay Dying Summary and Analysis of Section 6


Sixth Area (Vardaman, Mosely, Darl, Vardaman, Darl, Vardaman, Darl, Vardaman, Darl; pages 183-218):

Vardaman narrates. He and Darl discuss the buzzards. Cash is in pain, but denies it, declaring that his leg only harms when they review bumps.

Mosely narrates. The Bundrens have reached town. He is a town pharmacist, and Dewey Dell wanders around his shop. He approaches her, asking if she needs support. After lots of questioning and indirect responses, she handles to get throughout that she wants a medicine that will make her lose her infant. Mosely refuses. She attempts to convince him to offer her the treatment, informing him she’s got 10 dollars from the dad, Lafe, however Mosely declines. Finally, she leaves. Mosely talks with his assistant Albert, who has become aware of the Bundrens’ behaviors about town. The town marshal approached them, since of the extraordinary odor of the corpse. In addition, Darl went to buy cement for Money’s leg, purchasing the cement over the protests of the storekeeper, who said that cement as a cast would cause more damage than no cast at all.

Darl tells. Money continues to firmly insist that the discomfort is fine. The mix the cement and make the cast. Jewel returns.

Vardaman tells. He considers the toy train in Jefferson. He questions where the buzzards go at night. He aims to discover.

Darl narrates. The Bundrens are staying at the Gillespie farm. Darl asks Jewel who his dad was. Jewel is infuriated by the question. Money is having difficulty with his leg.

Vardaman narrates. He and Darl listen to the coffin, attempting to hear Addie. They both seem to believe they’re interacting with her. Late that night, Vardaman sees a few of the men moving the coffin to the barn. He goes to the barn stealthily, wanting to see where the buzzards go at night, and after that he sees something, connected to Darl, that Dewey Dell warns him never to talk about.

Darl narrates. The barn has actually been fired. Gillespie and some of the other men work hard to save the animals. Gem, in an extraordinary program of strength and will, saves the casket.

Vardaman narrates. They have actually moved the casket back under the apple tree. The barn has burned to the ground. Cash is in great pain; underneath the cast, the leg has gone black. Anse attempts to utilize a hammer to bust off the cast, however it fractures without coming off, and causes terrible discomfort to Money. They did not grease the leg before putting the cast on. Jewel’s back is burned red. Dewey Dell uses medication made from butter and soot; the soot is black, and so Gem’s back is now the same color as Money’s foot. Darl is outside, resting on top of the coffin, weeping.

Darl narrates. They are quick approaching Jefferson. Dewey Dell states she requires to respond to a call of nature, and vanishes into the woods; when she comes back, she is worn her best clothes. On the way in, they come across some people who discuss the smell coming from the wagon. Gem almost gets in a fight with one of the guys, but Darl steps in and everyone relaxes.


The Bundrens’ treatment of Cash’s leg and the responses of townfolks to their family and the wagon’s freight drive home the distinctions between the Bundrens and “townfolk.” Even among farmers, the Bundrens are particularly impoverished. Although members of the family such as Darl and Vardaman show terrific intelligence, they cement cast for Money’s leg is an act of overall ignorance, one that is awkward for the family as they encounter the reactions of others: Mosley states damningly, “Didn’t none of you have more sense than that?” (210 ). Anse’s leadership appears to be primarily to blame. He’s the father, and his routines have actually left their mark on the kids. Constantly inexpensive, he does not take Cash to a physician, despite the clearly horrific state of Money’s leg.

Vardaman thinks of town as a magic place; his fascination with the toy train grows as they approach Jefferson. His household is far too bad to purchase the train, but he longs simply to see it: “It made my heart hurt” (202 ). Vardaman’s longing discuss the styles of poverty, and of the department in between rural and town individuals.

Town is a location where the Bundrens end up being vulnerable. At bottom line, Faulkner permits us to see the Bundrens through the interior monologues of town folk, and the understandings are not lovely. Dewey Dell roams into Moseley’s shop, seeking an abortion treatment however horrified and uncertain of how to ask. And the Bundrens have an embarrassing run in with the sheriff of Mottson, who faces them about the stink originating from their wagon.

During the occasions at the Gillespie farm and immediately later, we hear just the monologues of 2 characters: Darl and Vardaman. The choice is not unexpected; Vardaman, and to an even higher extent, Darl, have been the dominant narrators of the book. Both share a strong bond, terrific level of sensitivity, and have a strong mystic side. Vardaman, as the more youthful young boy, defers to Darl’s interpretations of numerous events. At Addie’s coffin, Vardaman can hear Addie however can not understand what she is saying. Darl informs him that Addie is talking to God, crying out to him to hide her far from the sight of male (200 ). Implicitly, Darl is humiliated and disrupted by the travails that his mother’s body has actually had to go through.

The event Vardaman sees, which Dewey Dell forbids him to mention, is Darl setting fire to the barn. Various analyses are offered for Darl’s act, but the “he’s just gone bananas” analysis seems unsatisfactory. Darl does appear to believe that he hears Addie talking to him, or at least he states so to Vardaman: perhaps, Darl may be speaking metaphorically about the body’s requirement to be ruined or buried, so that it will no longer provide disgust and loathing in others. Whether Darl thinks Addie is speaking with him in an actual sense or not is really beside the point; his action is not dramatically out of synch with his behavior throughout the rest of the book. In so many of his monologues Darl appears to go beyond the department between literal and metaphoric; there is an effective mysticism in much of what Darl states.

Undoubtedly, he is rattled by Addie’s death in a manner that the others are not. The humiliation of bringing the decomposing body to Jefferson has clearly traumatized him. He is sensitive, and he thinks that this act is an affront to his mom. For all of these reasons, Darl sets fire to the barn. Admittedly, it is not the most reasonable action. However burning the barn seems more the action of a desperate and distressed male than a guy who is merely crazy.

Darl’s attempt to end the indignities against his mom’s body are warded off by Jewel, who once again expresses grief and commitment through the physical. His effort to conserve the coffin is practically super-human.

Keep in mind that as Darl ends up being more traumatized, his sense of boundaries are diminished. Though he has plainly understood about Gem’s fathering for a long time, he selects now to select at Gem about it. In part, he might be responding to Jewel’s indifference to the family. His remarks point not simply to Gem’s bastard parentage however his lack of love for their mom: “Your mother was a horse, however who was your daddy, Jewel?” (198 ). Darl appears especially obtuse here; we are hearing about the event in his own interior monologue, however we can not rate his motivations for facing Gem now. Definitely, the words seem to hurt. Gem is furious, cussing at Darl, however Darl’s response seems so innocent, it seems difficult to think that he is saying this to harm Gem.

Particularly given that Darl probably conserves Gem’s life. When Gem almost gets himself into a fight with a man wielding a knife, Darl steps in and relaxes everyone down. He is the only one in the household capable of doing so: Vardaman is too young, Anse too weak, Cash too ill, and Dewey Dell is a girl. Darl’s approach to the complete stranger is diplomatic, relaxing, smart. Barely the efficiency of an outrageous male.

The tone of Darl’s interior monologues does at times appear more fragmented, less coherent, but the monologues are marked still by the eloquence and charm that we have pertained to connect with Darl’s language. While Darl’s monologues reveal increasing indications of trauma and sorrow, they are not the ramblings of a crazy male. Darl’s last monologue in the book is various; more on that in the next area.

An essential structural feature is the chiasmus of Darl in relation to the other Bundrens. While Darl develops himself early as the most dependable narrator, with Dewey Dell and Vardaman nearly mad with grief and Cash totally absorbed in his work, there is an intriguing inversion by the end of the novel. Note that with each monologue, Vardaman becomes more sane, more well balanced. Dewey Dell and Money will soon speak, in voices that seem to have made peace with Addie’s death; Cash barely mentions it, and Dewey Dell not. It is Darl who appears to moving in the opposite direction. The journey to Jefferson is not a time to make peace for Darl. His betrayal by his family will deal a killing blow to his peace of mind.

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