As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Online Book Summary
Tull, Anse, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman are crossing the river, but Anse keeps looking back, as if he expects further disasters. Tull describes the water as cold and alive. After they cross, Tull looks across and sees the wagon and the rest of the family and says that they would risk "the fire and the earth and the water" just for a bunch of bananas. Anse concludes this section by stating that he promised Addie and that she is counting on him.
We see here Anse’s dilemma: he feels obliged to go to Jefferson but also senses that disaster waits for him at every turn. Tull’s comment about fire, earth, and water, coming as is does just before they are to cross the river, is a foreshadowing of disastrous events to come.
After Tull, Anse, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman cross the river, Cash, Darl, and Jewel attempt to cross with Addie. Jewel rides ahead on his horse and Cash, Darl, and the coffin are on the wagon.
Cash and Darl are having a difficult time keeping the wagon on the submerged bridge. In an attempt to keep the coffin stable, cash "lays his hands flat on Addie, rocking her a little." Jewel suggests that they let him take the coffin across on his horse. Cash objects and Darl suggests that Jewel tie a rope to the wagon to help them. A log comes down the river and rams the wagon, knocking it off of the bridge. The wagon is in trouble: Cash attempts to save Addie while Darl jumps off.
The rivalry between Cash and Jewel is expressed in each one’s individual desire to take care of Addie. Cash cradles her like a baby and risks his own life at the end to save the coffin. Jewel wants to take Addie on his horse across the river. Darl is not particularly interested in a show of bravado.
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. 09 May 2017