As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

as i lay dyingAddie Bundren  is being expected to die in the beginning of the story. As I Lay Dying is about Addie’s death and her family’s journey to bury her in Jefferson, just like her wish. Every family member, Anse, Addie’s husband; Cash, the oldest child; Darl, the second; Jewel, the third; Dewey Dell, the only girl and the fourth; and Vardaman, the youngest child are preparing for her death. Cash is building her coffin right in front of her bed-room window.

On some days before Addie’s sad death, Darl and Jewel leave the farm to make a delivery to Vernon Tull and Cora, his wife. Shortly after they left, Addie dies. Cash, with some help, finally completes the coffin before dawn. They live in a farm in 1930, which maybe suggests why Addie’s death is quick. The modern medication may result in a different story-line. It is also mentioned that everybody try to make her recover, even people from the neighboring farms, Vernon Tull and his wife, Cora. Both of them agree to come to Jefferson to bury Addie.

Vardaman is troubled by Addie being nailed down in the coffin. After all, I found out that he is still a boy, under ten years old. He nails some holes in the coffin which two of them go through Addie’s face. I understand Vardaman is sad that his mother shuts down in the coffin, but because of his actions, his mother’s peaceful death is quite disturbed. By reading this chapter, I want to understand more on death. What happens if you die? Will you rebirth if your life is bad? Or do you go to heaven/hell? Nobody knows about the mystery of death even though every religion is trying to answer it.

The first night to Jefferson is not a success at all. Addie’s coffin is almost drowned. Their set of mules are drowned and Jewel needs to sell his horse. Anse uses up all the money because he needs to buy fake teeth. Cash spends his money to buy equipment. They sacrifice everything to Addie’s wish to be buried in Jefferson.

Dewey Dell, the girl that is about seventeen, gets pregnant with neighbor’s farmer. Long time ago, people who are pregnant without marriage is considered bad luck. Now they are not, even though pregnancy should be planned carefully. Baby ought be born in a good and loving married couple. And it is all that matters. Dewey Dell, along the journey to Jefferson, is trying her best to buy medicine to stop the pregnancy, but she fails three times.

The whole journey is a sad journey. Though finally Addie is buried, Anse, her husband comes up with another woman, the new Mrs. Bundren. I think that is disrespectful. Right after they bury Addie, the first thing he does is to rob his kids to buy his false teeth, then flirts with a lady who lents him a shovel. In my opinion, Anse is the worst character in the story.

William Faulkner is one of the most important writers in American literature. He recieved the 1949 Nobel Prize in literature. Two of his works, A Fable and The Reivers won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Pulitzer Prize is awarded for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. According to Modern Library List, As I Lay Dying is one of the 100 best English Language Novel of the 20th century. I am glad I am able to read the book.


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