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Free Study Guide-As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

SECTION 31: Tull

Summary

Tull tells how Anse and his family have returned and how Anse wants to try to cross the damaged and partially submerged bridge. Tull is adamantly against it, and Cash can only imagine it being crossed by a person walking carefully. Dewey Dell thinks they should try it. Darl just looks with his "queer eyes," that make is seem like "somehow you was looking at yourself and your doings outen his eyes." Jewel tells Tull to get back to his work and asks him why he followed them here. Anse is starting to look defeated, and then Cash says that Anse, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman can walk across and the rest will use Jewel’s horse and Tull’s mule to lead the wagon. Tull objects, not wanting to lose his mule in the river.

Notes

The situation is becoming desperate. Anse is losing the will to continue, feeling defeated at every move. Dewey Dell needs to get to town to get the abortion. Cash, perhaps out of a desire to please his mother, takes control to get them across the river.

Darl does not seem to have any motivation or desire in this effort. The comment by Tull about Darl’s eyes may explain why Faulkner allows Darl to narrate sections he is not present for: Darl can see through other characters or even see events he is not present for.


SECTION 32: Darl

Summary

Darl sees Jewel sitting on his horse and then flashes back to the summer when Jewel kept falling asleep all the time. No one could figure out why he was falling asleep and getting so thin, so Addie wanted to call a doctor. Anse refused because he did not feel that falling asleep was anything dire. Addie had to sneak food to Jewel because she was worried about his health; this deceit troubled her because she stated that deception was the worst of sins. Addie also gets Dewey Dell and Vardaman to do his household chores so that Anse does not get upset. Cash discovers that Jewel has been leaving each night after everyone goes to bed and getting back just before everyone gets up. He and Darl assume that Jewel has a girlfriend, but Cash finally discards this idea because Jewel’s exhaustion seems far more than could be caused by sex. Cash follows him one night and discovers what has been happening: Jewel has been clearing Lon Quick’s fields by himself in exchange for the horse. Anse gets upset because Jewel’s work has made him too tired to help the family.

Darl ends the section by stating that he knew Addie’s deceit the same way he knew about Dewey Dell’s

Notes

This section is a flashback spurred by Darl seeing Jewel on his horse. However, we do not realize that this is the connection until the end. Both Anse and Addie are shown to be duplicitous: Anse does not work much because he claims if he sweats again he will die; Addie must hide food for Jewel which goes against her own rule that deceit is the worst of sins. We will find out later that Anse, despite criticizing Jewel for working on his own time to earn the horse, will steal from his own children to get his teeth. Addie, we will see, has a far greater deceit that she hides by appearing so against any deception.

SECTION 33: Tull

Summary

Tull, Anse, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman are crossing the river, but Anse keeps looking back, as if he expects further disasters. Tull describes the water as cold and alive. After they cross, Tull looks across and sees the wagon and the rest of the family and says that they would risk "the fire and the earth and the water" just for a bunch of bananas. Anse concludes this section by stating that he promised Addie and that she is counting on him.

Notes

We see here Anse’s dilemma: he feels obliged to go to Jefferson but also senses that disaster waits for him at every turn. Tull’s comment about fire, earth, and water, coming as is does just before they are to cross the river, is a foreshadowing of disastrous events to come.

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