– As I Lay Dying Essay, Research Paper
The next eldest of the Bundren children, Darl delivers the largest number of interior monologues in the novel. An extremely sensitive and articulate young man, he is grief stricken by the death of his mother and the plight of his family’s burial journey. After he sets fire to the Gillespie barn in an attempt to incinerate his mother’s corpse, his family commits him against his will to a mental institution in Jackson.
The bastard child borne of Addie’s affair with Whitfield, Jewel lives with the Bundren family as though he were completely of it. However, his unique antecedents inspire within him a fiercely independent turn of mind. As an adolescent, he secretly earned enough money to purchase his own horse, and his self-sufficiency leads to frequent clashes with Anse . A large young man, younger than Darl but older than Dewey Dell , he is as physically active as he is imposing, hauling Addie across the flooding river and rescuing her from the burning barn.
Dewey Dell, the only Bundren daughter, is a seventeen year-old with a libidinous streak. She becomes pregnant after an affair with Lafe, and seeks an abortion in Jefferson.
Anse, the patriarch of the Bundren family, is a poor farmer who feels duty-bound to honor his late wife’s burial request. But his unhalting ambition to deliver Addie to rest in Jefferson at any cost and despite all hardships serves to cast doubt on both his intelligence and his motives. Upon finally arriving in Jefferson, Anse quickly makes good on his promise to Addie, and then proceeds to acquire a new set of false teeth and a second bride.
The eldest of the Bundren children, Cash is an aspiring carpenter who occupies himself with the construction of his mother’s coffin during her dying days. After previously enduring a broken leg when he fell from the roof of a church, he re-injures the same leg in the journey to bury Addie while attempting to cross a river with a wagon in the face of flood conditions. For the rest of the novel Cash is incapacitated, and as the result of a shoddy attempt to set his injured leg in cement, he is hobbled for life.
Vardaman is the youngest of the Bundren children. The fish he catches on the day of his mother’s death comes to stand as a symbol of her life and her passing
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