Dewey Dell may be the character with the most obvious development in As I Lay Dying. Many of the characters possess psychological depth, but Dewey Dell faces challenges within the narrative that force her to change her mind about her world in ways the other characters do not.
Some specific challenges Dewey Dell faces which lead to change in her character:
- Upon the death of Addie Bundren, Dewey must take over the role of mother for the family, especially in relation to Vardaman. This changes Dewey Dell’s status in the family.
- Pregnant and seeking a remedy for her condition, Dewey Dell lies to her family and sneaks off to a pharmacy where she is given bad advice and, ultimately, taken advantage of by a clerk. Dewey learns that she cannot or should not trust the town-folk and that she should rely on her own innate sense of what is right and what is wrong.