As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying 54. Peabody Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Peabody reprimands Cash for allowing Anse to treat his leg with cement. Cash deferentially answers that the family just intended to ease his pain, and that the treatment never bothered him. Cash's response only angers Peabody further, who tells Cash, "Don't you"¦try to tell me you rode six days on a wagon without springs, with a broken leg and it never bothered you."
Peabody's criticism suggests that Cash's tendency to be self-effacing is not inherently good, but rather shows a lack of self-respect on some level. Thus, Peabody shows care for Cash through this scorn, as he hopes for Cash to express himself in order to feel strong, rather than sublimate his own needs in an effort to appear heroic.
Themes
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Still, Cash answers that it never bothered him. Peabody answers that he probably means it never bothered Anse, and launches into a diatribe against Anse's selfishness and negligence as a parent.
Here, Peabody continues to push back against Cash's exaggerated stoicism. Peabody is the only character to do this, as he understands Cash's personality not as an inherent flaw but as a reaction to his father's bad parenting.
Themes
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon