As I Lay Dying Main Characters
Addie is Bundren’s wife and mother to Vardaman, Dell, Dewey, Darl, and Cash. Her death and subsequently, absent protagonist triggers the novel’s action. She was a former school teacher who deeply loved her favorite child, Jewel, more than the rest of her family, God and even her husband whom she despised. She is an unhappy woman who believes that living her life is a full repentance for her sins. She wished that she be buried with her family in Jefferson, a one-and-half week journey. Addie speaks to the reader long her death. Her philosophy, like her husbands, is that the purpose of living is to make you ready to stay dead for a long time. Her affair with Whitfield can either be seen as her efforts of enjoying herself considering that she names the resultant child ‘Jewel’ or rather destroying herself due to her concentration on death.
Darl is the second born to the family of Bundren. Being the most articulate and most sensitive member of the household, he contributes a lot of interior monologs in the story. The family runs into trouble transporting Addie, and his frustration with the whole ordeal drives him to try to end the suffering by incinerating his mother’s coffin. He is an intricate representation of the thought process. Some of his monologs are straightforward and are a stream of consciousness. He acts as a narrator who presents the shortfall of this novel for lacking an objective third party narrator. Though his narrative is sophisticated, he is isolated and cruel considering that comes between his sister and her lover, besides teasing Jewel. His reason for not connecting with the family is that he had seen the worst in human nature and he hasn’t recovered.
Anse, a poor farmer with an overwhelming selfish interest and afflicted with a hunchback happens to be the head of the Bundren family. He has poor childbearing skills which are a