As I Lay Dying Unit 1 Questions and Answers
by William Faulkner

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Unit 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why are Cora and Vernon Tull, Kate, and Eula at the Bundren house?

2. What reason does Anse give for not working?

3. How do we know Cora Tull is not a reliable narrator?

4. How does Dewey Dell explain why she got pregnant?

5. What reason does Tull give for people continuing to help Anse out?

6. Who is Anse’s main concern?

7. Why is Peabody upset at being called to the Bundren’s farm?

8. Why didn’t Anse send for Peabody sooner?

9. What is the function of the italicized sections in Darl’s narratives?

10. What are Anse’s and Dewey Dell’s actual motives for getting to Jefferson?

Answers
1. They are being neighborly by helping Anse Bundren and watching by Addie Bundren’s deathbed.

2. Anse does not dare to work because, over 20 years ago, he became sick from working in the sun too long. He now believes that if he works, he might sweat and die.

3. Cora believes that Darl is Addie’s favorite and that Jewel does not care for her. However, just before her narrative, we see that Darl and Anse were less concerned with being at Addie’s deathbed than Jewel was.

4. Dewey Dell says she could not help it. Whether or not she went with Lafe into the shady grove depended upon whether or not her cotton sack was full. She blames fate, not herself.

5. Tull says that he, like everyone else, has been doing things for Anse for so long that it’s become a habit.

6. Anse’s main concern is his own bad luck, misfortunes, and needs. He expresses little interest in the problems or needs of his family members.

7. Peabody is upset about going to the Bundrens’ because there is a storm coming, and because the road to the house is so steep, he has to be hauled up by rope. He also wonders whether it is ethical to save Addie just to have her get more worn out by Anse.

8. Anse says he didn’t send for Peabody sooner because he had other things to do: he was looking after the boys who were working and he was thinking.

9. The italicized sections in Darl’s narratives indicate his ability to see/understand things without being there. It makes it seem as if he is in two places at one time: in one place physically, in another mentally.

10. Dewey Dell wants someone to find someone who can help her end her pregnancy; Anse wants to get a set of teeth for himself.