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As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Online Book Summary


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SECTION 32: Darl


Darl sees Jewel sitting on his horse and then flashes back to the summer when Jewel kept falling asleep all the time. No one could figure out why he was falling asleep and getting so thin, so Addie wanted to call a doctor. Anse refused because he did not feel that falling asleep was anything dire. Addie had to sneak food to Jewel because she was worried about his health; this deceit troubled her because she stated that deception was the worst of sins. Addie also gets Dewey Dell and Vardaman to do his household chores so that Anse does not get upset.

Cash discovers that Jewel has been leaving each night after everyone goes to bed and getting back just before everyone gets up. He and Darl assume that Jewel has a girlfriend, but Cash finally discards this idea because Jewel’s exhaustion seems far more than could be caused by sex. Cash follows him one night and discovers what has been happening: Jewel has been clearing Lon Quick’s fields by himself in exchange for the horse. Anse gets upset because Jewel’s work has made him too tired to help the family.

Darl ends the section by stating that he knew Addie’s deceit the same way he knew about Dewey Dell’s.


This section is a flashback spurred by Darl seeing Jewel on his horse. However, we do not realize that this is the connection until the end. Both Anse and Addie are shown to be duplicitous: Anse does not work much because he claims if he sweats again he will die; Addie must hide food for Jewel which goes against her own rule that deceit is the worst of sins. We will find out later that Anse, despite criticizing Jewel for working on his own time to earn the horse, will steal from his own children to get his teeth. Addie, we will see, has a far greater deceit that she hides by appearing so against any deception.

SECTION 33: Tull


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.

SECTION 34: Darl


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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