William Faulkner's famed novel, As I Lay Dying, takes place in Mississippi during a time of racism and bigotry. The mother of poor family, who live in a rural town, is on her deathbed and the entire family contributes a little something in the end of her life. The novel is told in fifteen different perspectives. Cash, her eldest son, works on making a coffin for his mother while the neighbors take care of her. Addie then dies the next day and placed into the coffin. One of her sons, Vardamere, believes he accidentally caused her death by feeding her a bad fish. This thought is so buried in his mind, that he opens the coffin and bores two holes into his mother's head, on accident again. While this is happening, Addie's daughter, Dewey Dell, is more focused on her unexpected pregancy than her mother's death. Addie's funeral is held the next day. She had only one wish: to be buried in the town of Jefferson. Although her husband wanted other worldly materials, he agrees and the males haul Addie away in a wagon, but one son, Jewel, refuses to travel in the wagon with the coffin. As their travels lead to the night, the boys stay with an accepting family, who do not believe burying Addie in Jefferson is a great idea. However, the family travels on but face complications when they learn the bridge across the river has flooded. They make a raft to attempt to make it across but a log in the river throws the coffin overboard. Luckily, a man named Vernon Toll helps them recover the coffin and eventually cross the flooded river. Tull's wife recalls Addie's unchristian life. Through a flashback, the reader sees Addie's affair with a priest, which produced Jewel, and the loveless marriage of Addie and her husband. Anse, her husband, then uses the money he was saving for false teeth, Cash's money for a gramophone, and traded in Jewel's most prized possession, his horse, to pay for a new set of mules to continue their journey. As the family reaches the town called Mottson, the stench of Addie's corpse negativiely attracts the twonspeople. That night, another son, Darl, attempts to burn the coffin by burning the farmhouse in which it rests. However, Jewel not only saves the coffin, but also all the animals inside. Darl realizes his sin and weeps over the coffin asking for forgiveness. Back home, Dewey wants to buy an abortion drug but the pharmacist suggests marriage is a better way out. The next morning, the family arrives in Jefferson, where they finally bury Addie. When the entire family is reunited, Anse sports his new false teeth... and his new bride.
1. If you were in a loveless marriage like Anse, would you request separation even though it could affect your children's lives?
2. Even if there was no love in the relationship, would you attempt to fulfill a close one's dying wish?
3. What is more important in a relationship: love or respect?