As Addie lay dying the Bundren family is coping the only way they know how. Anse devotes much of his time lazing around all day massaging his old arthritic knee, either sitting on the steps or standing in the door frame with his hands hanging straight to his sides like a scarecrow or a skeleton that personifies the person Addie has become as she lay withering from her illness. Anse's inability to take action is noted and condemned by all who know the Bundren family. Condemnation is not always evident by what one may say or do, but by what is not said, and by how one may or may not react. The Bundren children clearly does not think much of their father since he is incapable of comforting or protecting them from the emotional and psychological pain they are experiencing. Usually and historically- although it has become something of the past lately- the man; father, husband. is the most respected and feared person in the home. At the time William Faulkner wrote, As I Lay Dying, you might have thought he would have portrayed Anse Bundren as such a man, but instead Faulkner represented Mr. Bundren as a weak and cowardly man paralyzed by his lack of masculine and paternal initiatives to save his dying wife and comfort his children in their distress as they grieve the eminent loss of their mother.

We have seen over and over the children's fragile emotional state as they take turn paying their last respects to their dying or already dead mother captured by the ever present figure of Dewey Dell, as she fans her mother ill, dead and decomposing body. The children pay their last respect to their mother emotionally and silently; as silently as they Addie lay watching the preparations for her death. First came Darl, "The one folks say is queer,lazy, and always pottering around the place no better than Anse. He come to the door and stood there, looking at his dying mother. He just looked at her, not coming in to where she could see him and get upset. He just stood there and looked at his dying mother, his heart too full for words."(24-25) Anse wants to send them on a trip that could take a few days for them to return, and maybe, their dying mother will not last that long. So Darl gazed upon the face of his dying mother with love and heaviness in his heart. This grief is also evident by Cash's quest for approval as he builds her coffin. He has not only set up his workbench under the window of her bedroom where she can hear him sawing and hammering, but he also raises the plank of wood above his head for her to see the selection and choice of materials used to make her coffin. "You, Cash," she shouts, her voice harsh, strong, and unimpaired. "You, Cash!"

"He looks up at the gaunt face framed by the window in the twilight. It is a composite picture of all time since he was a child. He drops the saw and lifts the board for her to see, watching the window in which the face has not moved.He drags a second plank into position and slants the two of them....shaping with his hand in pantomime the finished box." (48) Addie, who has not sat up in bed for the past ten days gathered the strength to inspect and approve this most precious project, as it is intended to serve as her final resting home placed among the rest of her distinguished family in Jefferson.
Cash's commitment to his dying mother is in stark contrast to Anse's As a husband, his lack of immediate or relevant response corresponds with the overall sentiment from the neighbors of Addie's ill choice in choosing a husband. Why did Anse wait until the eleventh hour to send for Dr. Peabody? Did he know of Addie's infidelity and wanted to punish her? Addie loved Jewel most of all, buy Anse was indifferent to him and all his other children. Do you think that Anse was repulsed Addie and all 'her' children causing him to get rid of her once and for all and celebrating with a new set of teeth. A symbol of starting over- rebirth.




Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage, 1990 .Print