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As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is a novel about how
the conflicting agendas within a family tear it apart.

Every member of the family is to a degree responsible for

what goes wrong, but none more than Anse. Anse's

laziness and selfishness are the underlying factors to every

disaster in the book.

As the critic Andre Bleikasten agrees, "there is scarcely a

character in Faulkner so loaded with faults and vices"


At twenty-two Anse becomes sick from working in the sun

after which he refuses to work claiming he will die if he

ever breaks a sweat again. Anse becomes lazy, and turns

Addie into a baby factory in order to have children to do

all the work. Addie is inbittered by this, and is never the

same. Anse is begrudging of everything. Even the cost of a

doctor for his dying wife seems money better spent on

false teeth to him. "I never sent for you" Anse says "I take

you to witness I never sent for you" (37) he repeats trying

to avoid a doctor's fee.

Before she dies Addie requests to be buried in Jefferson.

When she does, Anse appears obsessed with burying her

there. Even after Addie had been dead over a week, and

all of the bridges to Jefferson are washed out, he is still

determined to get to Jefferson.

Is Anse sincere in wanting to fulfill his promise to Addie,

or is he driven ...

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