Tull thinks about Anse's haplessness and the potential danger of crossing the river with the coffin. Anse challenges Tull again about his team of mules, but reasons that he is not attempting to blame Tull for anything.
Again, Anse goes out of his way to defend himself as a self-sufficient person, but in doing so, calls attention to his own ignorance and selfishness.
Tull helps Anse, Dewey Dell and Vardaman cross the river, offering Vardaman in particular a hand as he walks across. Tull suggests again that the Bundrens wait to bring the wagon across the river, leading Anse to accuse Tull of begrudging the family their determination to get Addie to Jefferson, and repeats that he is merely fulfilling a sacred word, a promise that she is counting on from heaven.
Tull consistently both criticizes the Bundrens and helps them. indicating that he is torn between judging their endeavor and supporting it. Tull provides a complicated commentary on the Bundrens as a unique representation of family. Anse's repeated defense of the journey becomes increasingly absurd, as his actions continue to show selfishness and contradict his words.