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Free Study Guide-As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner-Free Book Notes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

Like all of Faulkner’s works, As I Lay Dying is set in the fictional Mississippi county of Yoknapatawpha. The action takes place between the Bundren’s rural home and the city of Jefferson, which is about a day and a half’s ride away.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Addie Bundren

The mother whose dying wish is to be buried in her family plot in Jefferson. Her death instigates the primary movement of the novel, that of transporting the body to Jefferson.

Anse Bundren

The father who uses the trip to Jefferson to get new teeth and a new wife.

Cash Bundren

The oldest of the Bundren children who makes the coffin outside of Addie’s window.

Darl Bundren

The most philosophical of the Bundren children and also the most conscious of the futility of the situation.


Jewel Bundren

The love child of Addie and Reverend Whitfield and the one who repeatedly saves his mother’s corpse.

Dewey Dell Bundren

She is the daughter of the Bundren's and is pregnant with Lafe’s child. The trip to Jefferson represents her chance to get an abortion.

Vardaman Bundren

The youngest of the Bundren children who has not yet progressed to the point where he can separate reality from metaphor.

Minor Characters

Cora Tull

A neighbor whose narrative provides a religious commentary on the Bundren's.

Vernon Tull

Cora’s husband and friend of Anse.

Peabody

The local doctor.

Samson

Another neighbor who lives near a bridge that the Bundren's intend to cross.

Whitfield

The minister and father of Jewel.

Armstid

A farmer the Bundren's meet on their trip.

Moseley

A pharmacist who will not help Dewey Dell.

MacGowan

A drugstore assistant who tricks Dewey Dell.

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