As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying 58. Dewey Dell Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Anse spots Dewey Dell's ten dollars, initially given to her by Lafe and still left over from the failed abortion attempt. Anse asks her about where she got it. Dewey Dell insists that the money belongs to Cora Tull, as she sold her cakes in Jefferson. Anse accuses her of lying, saying that she had her clothing in the package, not Cora's cakes. Dewey Dell tells him to keep his hands off the money, which, again, she says is not hers. Presenting himself as a victim of Dewey Dell's unjust cruelty and lack of appreciation for his parenting, Anse reprimands Dewey Dell for calling him a thief over Addie's grave.
While Dewey Dell straddles the impulse to cope directly with Addie's death and to focus on her own needs, she is more honest about her simplicity and guilt about being self-interested when compared to many of the other characters. Dewey Dell enters and exits the novel in an unresolved state of desperation, with her inner thoughts as the only place of solace into which she may retreat.
Themes
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Dewey Dell repeats again and again that the money is not hers, but Anse does not care to listen to her. He takes the money and leaves.
Anse's manipulation of and utter disregard for Dewey Dell prepares us for his final gesture of senseless self-interest in Cash's closing section, and emphasizes his horrifying inability to act as a father.
Themes
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon