A master carpenter, Cash persistently works on her coffin, as neighboring farmers Vernon and Cora Tull offer their help and sympathy. The narrative action pauses as Addie narrates a section in the novel. But I had been used to words for a long time. For him, she does not exist after death, as well as during the life. She is pregnant and is looking for a way to get rid of the pregnancy. But, a sense of obligation and his selfish desire to buy a set of false teeth urge him to go to Jefferson for her funeral.
He has bought his horse working at his neighbor at night when he was young. Anse gets new mules by using the money he was saving for his new teeth, mortgaging farm equipment and trading in Jewel's beloved horse. Their matriarch, Addie, dies early in the novel and then the family sets out to bury her in nearby Jefferson. Cash's tool is lost in the river so all the family members with Tull go to riverbed in order to look for it. Anse visits a local house to borrow spades to bury his dead wife, and consequently spends time with another woman.
Anse supports his argument by citing Cash who goes to work on a church only to fall off of its roof. It's like it ain't so much what a fellow does, but it's the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. The family sets out the next day for Jefferson and arrives prepared to bury Addie. The Plot The book consists of 59 chapters, and it is told by 15 different characters. Young Vardaman is upset about his mother being nailed inside a box, so he secretly drills holes in the lid, with two going through his mother's face. They need to cross a river, but there's been a big flood, so the bridges are gone or impassable. Two other sons, Darl and Jewel, struggle both with their mother's death and their own mental health.
He prefers to act, not speak. But Jewel risks his life to rescue the coffin from the fire. Darl is perceptive and insightful but taunts others mercilessly, while Jewel knows how to express love and affection only through violence, because his mother sought violence when she conceived him during an affair with a preacher. Darl lies on his mother's coffin and cries. While Vernon watches Vardaman walk off toward the barn, Cora comes out of the house and tells Vernon that it is time for them to go. Instead of sending him to jail, Anse arranges for Darl to be committed to a mental asylum.
While most sections are narrated by members of the Bundren family, the few that are told by neighbors and other observers offer a glimpse of the family from an outsider's perspective. Cash gets his leg reset, though he's losing blood and it's a bad wound. Despite her poor and degrading health, Darl and Jewel went to the town with Vernon Tull. The Symbols Coffin Addie: performance as a physical cargo due to Addi's death. After giving birth to Cash, she suffered from depression; after giving birth to her second son, Darl, she makes Anse promise to bury her in Jefferson when she dies. Tull - Chapter 8 Summary Vernon Tull and Anse are discussing what Anse should do, though it is not clear what Anse's decision concerns. Since Jewel is one of the most significant characters in the novel, it is at first puzzling that he narrates only one section in the entire book.
The Bundrens set off on their journey and stay with a local farmer named Samson and his family. Faulkner's innovation is in how we see this unified set of events: we are forced to look at the story from a number of different perspectives, each of which is highly subjective. Vardaman protests, but Anse's insistence finally sends him sulking off with the fish. At the very beginning, Addie was alive in the state of death. Afterward, Jewel saddles up on his beloved horse and insists that he will follow the Bundrens as they ride in the wagon. Just before sundown they complete the first eight miles of their journey. The Bundrens seek shelter at the farm.
Darl makes a sort of cast from cement for Cash's broken leg, which is just a different kind of agony. The narrative appears fragmentary, but the story demonstrates admirable unity: it is limited to the span of a few days, and the different sub-plots are logically and skillfully interwoven. Yet Vardaman still does not have a full grasp of the material realities of death, and worries that his mother won't be able to breathe nailed into her coffin. As I Lay Dying Study Guide Free BookNotes Plot Summary All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. The youngest child in the Bundren family, Vardaman, is either much younger than his siblings or is mentally retarded; throughout the novel, he confuses his mother with the fish he catches on the day she dies.
Throughout almost all of Darl's sections, he will describe Jewel in wooden imagery and often associate Jewel with the wooden wagon. After consideration, it is decided that Anse, Dewey Dell, Vardaman, and Vernon Tull will walk across the remains of the bridge and that Cash and Darl will lead the wagon across the river at the ford. Jewel, who disappeared after Anse traded his horse, reappears and rejoins the family. Since Jewel can express his love only violently, Anse then completely misunderstands him. His destruction has a tragic depth and dignity. Like Anse, Dewey Dell has personal reasons for wanting to go to town. Addie was dead in the novel but, it is she who moves all living characters here and there.
That night, the family reaches yet another local farm owned by a farmer called Gillepsie. This is either a flashback or she's narrating from her coffin - we can't tell. After this, Darl sees her and knows instantly. She was presented as stubborn, independent and alone in her own way. The reader should take these facts into account when trying to determine the degree of sanity that Darl possesses. Her family members are sure that she will die very soon. The stench of the body is becoming stronger, and the family sets off in a hurry.