as i lay dying is about the journey of addie bundren’s family; addie is dying and her children and husband build her a casket and carry out her last wish by taking her to be buried in her hometown. the story switches narrators each chapter; the characters who tell the story are family members and those who know the family. the story is woven by the individual perspective of each narrator, and the overarching themes of the unique experience of growing up poor in the american south.
“I am not religious, I reckon. But peace is in my heart: I know it is.”
“The sun, an hour above the horizon, is poised like a bloody egg upon a crest of thunderheads; the light has returned copper: in the eye portentous, in the nose sulphurous, smelling of lightning.”
“I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind–and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.”
“That’s the one trouble with this country: everything, weather, all, hangs on too long. Like our rivers, our land: opaque, slow, violent; shaping and creating the life of man in its implacable and brooding image.”
“I said You dont know what worry is. I dont know what it is. I dont know whether I am worrying or not. Whether I can or not. I dont know whether I can cry or not. I dont know whether I have tried to or not. I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.”