SOME SPECIFIC QUESTIONS FOR FINAL THIRD (pp. 169 – 261) OF As I Lay Dying:
- Why do you think Addie’s chapter is placed where it is? How does her chapter change your earlier perceptions of the Bundren family? For example, how well did Cora really know Addie?
- On pages 173–174, Addie meditates on the distance between words and actions. Is Faulkner saying that words—his own chosen medium—are inadequate? What do Addie’s definitions say about her as a woman?
- Anse Bundren alone thrives in the midst of disaster. What was his real reason for wanting to go to Jefferson? Who else gets what they came for?
- Humor and the grotesque are often interdependent in this novel, such as Vardaman’s accidental drilling of holes in his dead mother’s face so she can breathe, the family setting Cash’s broken leg in cement and the family’s apparent imperviousness to the stench of Addie’s rotting corpse. What are other examples? What was your reaction to such moments?
- Reflect upon the end of the novel. Why does it end as it does? What has not been resolved? What is the nature of the life that will continue after the novel’s end? What is the tone of the ending? (E.g., ironic, triumphant, lyrical, gloomy, etc.)