As I Lay Dying

Father and Daughter, Foiled Again: Analyzing Anse and Dewey Dell 12th Grade

For two characters who hardly interact at all, Dewey Dell and Anse Bundren have an incredible amount of parallels. For instance, they both have bodies they need to get rid of to the tune of a ticking clock. Dewey Dell needs to get an abortion as soon as possible to avoid having a baby, and Anse needs to get Addie in the ground in Jefferson with equal urgency. However, while Dewey Dell’s issue has to do with growth, Anse’s has to do with decay. Additionally, Anse seems like the novel’s most stereotypical patriarch: he controls his family’s actions. Conversely, Dewey Dell captures the idea of womanhood most accurately out of the novel’s three female characters. From her name to the fact that life literally grows within her, she seems the most connected to nature and, therefore, the feminine. In Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, the main plot follows a family’s journey to get rid of a body, so it makes sense that said journey highlights the subplot, one woman’s journey to get rid of a body. Overall, Anse and Dewey Dell act as foils to one another, as their parallel plots and mirroring characteristics each highlight the other’s story.

Although it may not appear so initially, upon a closer reading, it becomes clear that getting Addie’s...

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