As I Lay Dying


William Faulkner

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The Coffin

The coffin symbolizes the sense of weight and lack of balance (literally and figuratively) that the Bundrens take on by carting Addie all the way to Jefferson to be buried. Throughout the novel, the coffin… (read full symbol analysis)

Jewel's Horse

Jewel's relationship with his horse symbolizes his willful decision to separate himself from the rest of the Bundren family. Of course, Jewel is not biologically a Bundren child; however, he deliberately emphasizes his desire… (read full symbol analysis)


The fish Vardaman catches for dinner early in the novel provides him with a meaningful symbol to understand the nature and meaning of death. After Addie's death, Vardaman realizes that the fish, like his… (read full symbol analysis)


Cash's tools are a metaphor for his desire to fix and make things right—particularly regarding those around him. Throughout the novel, Cash does not reveal much about his inner life, but is a man… (read full symbol analysis)