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As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Online Book Summary


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Like all of Faulkner’s works, As I Lay Dying is set in the fictional Mississippi county of Yoknapatawpha. The action takes place between the Bundren’s rural home and the city of Jefferson, which is about a day and a half’s ride away by horse.


Major Characters

Addie Bundren
The mother whose dying wish is to be buried in her family plot in Jefferson. Her death instigates the primary movement of the novel, that of transporting the body to Jefferson.

Anse Bundren
The father who uses the trip to Jefferson to get new teeth and a new wife.

Cash Bundren
The oldest of the Bundren children (29 or 30 years old) who makes the coffin outside of Addie’s window.

Darl Bundren
(Around 28 years old) The most philosophical of the Bundren children and also the most conscious of the futility of the situation.

Jewel Bundren
(Age 18) He is the love child of his mother Addie and the Reverend Whitfield and the one who repeatedly saves his mother’s corpse.

Dewey Dell Bundren
(Age 17) She is the only daughter of the Bundren's and is pregnant with Lafe’s child. The trip to Jefferson represents her chance to get an abortion.

Vardaman Bundren
The youngest of the Bundren children (8 or 9 years old) who has not yet progressed to the point where he can separate reality from metaphor.

Minor Characters

Cora Tull
A neighbor whose narrative provides a religious commentary on the Bundren's.

Vernon Tull
or just Tull
Cora’s husband and friend of Anse.


The local doctor.

Another neighbor who lives near a bridge that the Bundren's intend to cross.

The minister and father of Jewel.


A farmer the Bundren's meet on their trip.


A pharmacist who will not help Dewey Dell.


A drugstore assistant who tricks Dewey Dell.

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