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As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Online Book Summary


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SECTION 25: Darl


Darl watches Jewel go into the barn. He also watches Dewey Dell’s leg and tightening dress as she climbs into the wagon. Anse is upset that Jewel will not go with them to Jefferson, but Cash tells him that Jewel may catch up with them on his horse. The section ends with Anse, Darl, Cash, Dewey Dell, Vardaman, and Addie’s body leaving on the wagon.


This section is cited in conjunction with Dewey Dell’s comment that Darl had come between her and Lafe are used to argue a degree of incestuous desire between Darl and Dewey Dell. Darl’s mention of the tightening dress also indicates that the pregnancy is progressing and becoming evident if one knows to look for it.

Jewel’s absence at the beginning of the trip is significant because it separates him from the family’s death drive.

SECTION 26: Anse


Anse explains that the reason that he would not let Jewel ride his horse is that since it was a circus horse, it would be disrespectful to his mother, Addie.

Darl starts laughing while Addie is lying there at his feet. Anse tells him that this kind of behavior is also disrespectful and is why people think he is strange. Cash explains that he is laughing at Jewel on his horse.


Here we can see Anse’s attempt to maintain a semblance of respect, first by his comment about Jewel’s horse and secondly in his response to Darl’s laughter. We are beginning to see more and more that Darl is not like the others. He thinks differently and sees the world differently, and equally importantly, the world and other people see him differently.

SECTION 27: Darl


Darl is watching Jewel approach on his horse, and describes it as happening in slow motion. The wagon passes a faded sign, "New Hope Church. 3 mi."

Cash remarks that in a few days the body will begin to smell and that it was not balanced for a long trip. Jewel finally arrives on his horse.


The entire family is now together on this trek.

This section is foreboding. The sign for "New Hope" is fading, and one gets the sense that hope for the Bundren's is fading as well. Cash’s remark that Addie’s corpse will begin to smell soon and that it is not well balanced suggest the potential for trouble.

SECTION 28: Anse


Anse is thinking to himself about the difficulties of country life. He says that a countryman can never get ahead but the city dweller lives well off of the work of country people.

Anse remarks that the bridge at Samson’s place is also out and that the river is still rising. He feels that this is all part of his suffering, but since suffering is a sign of being chosen by God, he is clearly one of the chosen. The section ends with Anse remembering that in Jefferson he will be able to get some new teeth.


Faulkner is giving an insight into a countryman’s view of the city worker: the former works while the latter prospers. Vardaman, when he was talking about how wonderful city life must be, was likely professing his father’s views.

The discovery that the bridge is out comes directly after the foreboding events of the previous chapter. Given the Bundren "bad luck," we should not be surprised if more difficulties arise.

The final line though does provide some optimism. Anse still will get his teeth. It should be noted that this section does not mention or allude to Addie, the official reason for the trip to Jefferson, but it does mention the teeth.

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