As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying 4. Jewel Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jewel angrily dwells on the question of why Cash feels the need to hammer and saw loudly outside Addie's window, blatantly revealing to her that he is building her coffin right outside her deathbed-window. Jewel not only feels angry at Cash for these actions, but also at his other family members for permitting Cash's inappropriate behavior, passively "sitting there, like buzzards." Jewel expresses a fantasy for how he would ideally like to spend Addie's last days: "It would just be me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces."
In Jewel's only section, he calls attention to his feeling of alienation from the rest of the Bundren family. Jewel criticizes Cash's attempts at showing dedication to Addie by denouncing his coffin-building as inappropriate, and doubts the rest of the family's love for Addie. By contrast, Jewel sees himself as possessing a truer sense of duty to his mother and a desire to act heroically, unlike the underlying selfishness of the Bundren family members.
Themes
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon