As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying Characters

Darl Bundren

Darl Bundren is the second son of Anse and Addie Bundren. Darl narrates the greatest number of sections in the novel and is often considered to be its surrogate author figure. Not only is… (read full character analysis)

Jewel

Jewel is the bastard son of Addie and Whitfield, the local minister. Jewel is the novel’s most evasive character, as he appears consistently in other narrators’ chapters but only narrates one chapter himself. Jewel… (read full character analysis)

Cash Bundren

Cash Bundren is the oldest son of Anse and Addie. Cash’s most notable quality is his capacity for self-sacrifice. After enduring the pain of a broken leg in a cement cast, Cash characteristically says, “It… (read full character analysis)

Dewey Dell Bundren

Dewey Dell is the second-to-youngest Bundren child, and the only daughter of Anse and Addie. Dewey Dell does not narrate many sections throughout the novel, though she is arguably one of the most tragic… (read full character analysis)

Vardaman Bundren

Vardaman, at six years old, is the youngest Bundren child. He narrates a great number of sections in the novel, engaging in similar existential questions to his brother Darl throughout his narrations. Famously, Vardaman remarks… (read full character analysis)
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Anse Bundren

Anse Bundren is the husband of Addie and the father of the Bundren children. Described by Darl as a man who “tells people that if he sweats he will die,” Anse is one of the… (read full character analysis)

Addie Bundren

Addie is the wife of Anse and the mother of Darl, Jewel, Cash, Dewey Dell and Vardaman. She had an affair with the minister Whitfield, which produced Jewel. Although her… (read full character analysis)

Lafe

Lafe works as a farmer on the Bundrens’ plot, and is the father of Dewey Dell’s unborn child. He never appears in the novel physically, but is mentioned incessantly by Dewey Dell. Lafe gives Dewey… (read full character analysis)

Whitfield

Whitfield is the local minister with whom Addie has an affair, and is the father of Jewel. He plans to confess to Anse about the affair before Addie’s death, but upon finding out that… (read full character analysis)

Snopes

Snopes is the local farmer from whom Anse gets a new team of mules midway through the novel. Anse trades Snopes some of Cash’s savings, some of his own money that he has been… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Vernon Tull
Vernon Tull is the Bundrens’ neighbor, who is often a bystander on their action – both helping them in their antics and quietly criticizing their behavior – often with his wife Cora.
Cora Tull
Cora Tull is Vernon Tull’s wife and a devout Christian. She frequently spouts her religious beliefs, and contrasts herself against Addie Bundren, who she sees as impious and a reprehensible example as a mother. Despite these judgments, Cora stays by Addie’s bed-side until her death.
Kate and Eula Tull
Kate and Eula Tull are the two daughters of Vernon and Cora Tull. They appear in the novel as additional perspectives counter to those of the Bundren family members, highlighting the Bundren's strangeness in conversation with their parents.
Peabody
Peabody is the Bundrens’ family doctor. He is appalled by Anse’s negligence as a father when he sees Cash’s cemented leg toward the end of the novel, and cannot believe that Cash would not complain about such a terrible treatment for his condition.
Samson
Samson is the first local farmer with whom the Bundrens seek shelter on their journey. Samson permits the Bundrens to stay with him, but criticizes them silently, believing their bad situation to be a sign of God’s judgment on them for their rudeness.
Rachel
Rachel is Samson’s wife. She severely criticizes the Bundrens’ decision to go to Jefferson and berates her husband for allowing the strange family to stay in their home.
Armstid
Armstid is another local farmer who hosts the Bundrens on their journey. He offers another counter-perspective to the Bundren points of view, though unlike many of the other non-Bundren narrators, Armstid does not overtly criticize the Bundrens, and exhibits extreme generosity to them during their stay at his home.
Quick
Quick is a local farmer who sits on the Bundrens’ porch during Addie’s funeral, talking to Armstid about why the Bundrens are going all the way to Jefferson to bury Addie.
Gillepsie
Gillepsie is the farmer who owns the barn that Darl burns down. Gillepsie eventually threatens to sue the Bundrens for the damage, though they claim Darl to be insane and send him to an asylum in an effort to avoid the cost of a lawsuit.
Moseley
Moseley is the pharmacist in Mottson who tells Dewey Dell to get a marriage license rather than expect to find an abortion drug in his store.
MacGowan
MacGowan is the pharmacy clerk in Jefferson who tricks Dewey Dell into thinking he is a doctor, taking advantage of her sexually rather than providing her with the abortion drug she thinks she is getting.