As I Lay Dying


  • Addie Bundren – Addie is the wife of Anse and the mother of Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman. She had an extramarital affair with her minister, Reverend Whitfield, which led to the conception and birth of her third child, Jewel.
  • Anse Bundren – Anse is Addie's widower, the father of all the children but Jewel.
  • Cash Bundren – Cash is a skilled and helpful carpenter and the eldest son of the family. In his late twenties, he builds Addie's coffin.
  • Darl Bundren – The second eldest of Addie's children, Darl is about two years younger than Cash. Darl is the most articulate character in the book; he narrates 19 of the 59 chapters.
  • Jewel Bundren – Jewel is the third of the Bundren children, most likely around nineteen years of age. A half-brother to the other children and the favorite of Addie, he is the illegitimate son of Addie and Reverend Whitfield. Most, if not all, of the characters other than Addie seem unaware of this.
  • Dewey Dell Bundren – Dewey Dell is the only daughter of Anse and Addie Bundren; at seventeen years old, she is the second youngest of the Bundren children.
  • Vardaman Bundren – Vardaman is the youngest Bundren child, somewhere between seven and ten years old.
  • Vernon Tull – Vernon is a good friend of the Bundrens, who appears in the book as a good farmer, less religious than his wife.
  • Cora Tull – Cora is the wife of Vernon Tull, a neighbor of Addie's who is with her at her death. She is very religious and this shows in her language.
  • Peabody – Peabody is the Bundrens' doctor; he narrates two chapters of the book. Anse sends for him shortly before Addie's death. This is far too late for Peabody to do anything more than to watch Addie die. Toward the end of the book, when he is working on Cash's leg, Peabody gives an excellent assessment of Anse and the entire Bundren family from the perspective of the community at large.
  • Lafe – Lafe is a farmer who has impregnated Dewey Dell and given her $10 to get an abortion.
  • Whitfield – Whitfield is the local minister with whom Addie had an affair, resulting in the birth of Jewel.
  • Samson – Samson is a local farmer who lets the Bundren family stay with him the first night on their journey to Jefferson. Samson's wife, Rachel, is disgusted with the way the family is treating Addie by dragging her coffin through the countryside.
  • Other narrators: MacGowan, Moseley, and Armstid

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