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As I Lay Dying: Character Connections

Connections between the numerous characters in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, shown in Prezi format.

Hannah Anderson

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of As I Lay Dying: Character Connections

As I Lay Dying: Character Connections Addie Bundren Addie is the wife of Anse Bundren, mother of Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman Bundren. While she is considered the main protagonist, she only narrates one section of the novel, and her death is actually the beginning of much of the action in the novel. She considered Cash as a sort of death to her independence, and Darl as an example of Anse's true nature - his selfishness. After Jewel was born, Addie had Dewey Dell and Vardaman as a way to repay Anse for the child he lost in Jewel. Anse Bundren Anse is the hunchbacked patriarch of the Bundren family, and the father of Cash, Darl, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman. He is selfish and irresponsible, and as such is constantly disrespected by his children. His one redeeming quality is his determination to keep his promise to his wife, that he would bury her in her hometown; even this is selfish, though, as he also seeks to buy a set of false teeth. Cash Bundren Cash Bundren is the oldest son of Anse and Addie Bundren. He is a selfless man, as even with a painful, festering leg, Cash refused to complain. He also truly loved his mother - when she asked for him to build her coffin, he built it "on the bevel", not an easy way to build a coffin, but one that results in high-quality. While not a traditional expression of love, it's the way Cash expresses his love for his mother. Darl Burden Darl is the second oldest son of Addie and Anse, and possibly the most stable narrator in the book. Darl is an individual, and he's punished for that, especially after the barn-fire (his father doesn't want to take responsibility, his sister wants him gone so no one knows of her pregnancy). He doesn't have the best relationship with any of his family members, save for perhaps Cash. He has a hard time communicating with his family, and can only really talk to himself - and us as readers. Minister Whitfield Minister Whitfiled is a not-so-virtuous preacher, one that Cora Tull holds up as the epitome of righteousness. He, however, had an affair with Addie Bundren, resulting in the conception of Jewel Bundren. He resolves to confess this affair to Anse when he visits the house after Addie's death, but instead believes that the mere intention to confess is enough. Jewel Burden Jewel is the product of an illict affair between Addie Bundren and Minister Whitfield. He's his mother's favorite (his name even shows this), and though he scorned her love while she was alive, he became the son she believed him to be after she died. His horse, which he worked nights to get the money for, symbolizes Jewel's longing for freedom and escape. When Anse sells his horse, Jewel's spirit is crushed; the fact that the horse was left unattended on the man's land who it was traded too, however, shows how Jewel has become more responsible and less selfish. Jewel and Darl also develop as the novel progresses - their relationship at first is largely antagonistic, but when Darl is taken away, he and Jewel have come closer to understanding one another. Dewey Dell Bundren Dewey Dell is the only daughter of Anse and Addie Bundren. As the novel opens, Dewey Dell has discovered she is pregnant after a sexual encounter - presumably with Lafe - and Darl has figured it out based on her behavior. Dewey Dell has started to mistrust all men, even those in her own family. Later, when Darl sets the Gillespie barn on fire, Dewey Dell takes the lead in sending him off to the mental institution. She's a naive narrator, ignorant of the ways of the world, but not an innocent one. Vardaman Bundren Vardaman is the youngest son of Anse and Addie Bundren, and the most affected by Addie's death. At the beginning of the novel, Vardaman catches and kills a fish; later, he equates this fish with his mother, even going so far as to drill holes into her coffin (and her face) so that she will be able to breathe. Gradually, Vardaman's hysterics calm into a sort of thoughtful narrator. Vardaman is an insightful narrator, showing how children truly love and express their love. Moseley Moseley is a pharmachist that Dewey Dell went to in order to get an abortion, which Lafe told her the pharmacy would provide. Moseley refuses to provide the treatment, instead lecturing Dewey Dell in an almost fatherly-stern way. MacGowan MacGowan is a clerk at a Jefferson drug store who pretends to be a doctor when Dewey Dell comes in seeking an abortion. He tells her that ten dollars will not be enough, and instead tells her to come back at night, after picking a random bottle for her to take. She returns after the store has closed, and he gives her talcum powder and takes her into the cellar, for a less-than-legal form of payment. Cora and Vernon Tull Cora and Vernon Tull are neighbors of the Bundrens. Cora is both a highly religious and a highly judgmental woman. She sits with Addie during her final days, though she highly disapproves of what she views as Addie's "vanity of pride". Vernon often helps the Bundren men with jobs and tasks, and even helps the family cross the river, though he is often unappreciated. Both Vernon and Cora are disapproving of the Bundren's decision to bury Addie in Jefferson. Dr. Peabody Peabody is a rural doctor who comes to see Addie on her deathbed. He knows she sent for him, as Anse is too irresponsible to do so, and too selfish to want to pay the money for a doctor's visit and treatment. He is extremely critical of Anse's care of his children and family, and he berates Anse after treating Cash's leg at the end of the novel. He also yells at Cash for allowing Anse to set his leg in cement, and for waiting so long to get treatment. Samson Samson is a farmer near the Bundrens who allows them to stay at his house for the first night of their journey to Jefferson. Instead of having sympathy on their problems, he sees them as divine judgment on the family's disregard for God and each other. Nonetheless, he gives them a place to stay, and warns them about the bridges that have washed away. The Gillespies Mr. Gillespie is a farmer who allows the Bundrens to stay the night later in their journey. His barn is the one that Darl sets fire to during the last leg of the journey. His son, adeptly referred to in the novel as "Gillespie's boy", helps Jewel to save the animals from the barn during the blaze.
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