As I Lay Dying Summary

In As I Lay Dying, the Bundren family must contend with the death of its matriarch, Addie. Her husband Anse and their children Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman take her body to Jefferson to bury her with her people. This journey is long and fraught, and at the end of it Anse steals their money to buy himself new teeth.

  • The novel is told from many different perspectives, including Anse, Addie, their children, and their neighbors. Of these many voices, Darl's becomes the most prominent. A WWII veteran, Darl is considered strange and a little unhinged.

  • In Addie's section, she reveals that Anse isn't Jewel's father and that she didn't love Anse or want to have more children with them. Her favorite child is Cash, the carpenter.

  • The Bundrens face many hardships as they travel to Jefferson to bury Addie. When they arrive, Anse uses the money Dewey Dell raised for her abortion to buy himself a new set of teeth. He returns with a second wife he declares to be the children's new mother.
Additional Content
  • Overview
  • Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

(The entire section is 3771 words.)