“It’s because he stays out there, right under the window, hammering and sawing on that goddamn box. Where she’s got to see him. Where every breath she draws is full of his knocking and sawing where she can see him saying See. See what a good one I am making for you.” (Faulkner, 9)
This quote examines the difficult relationship between mother and son. This quote also infers that the son is trying to prove himself, in some weird way, to his mother showing her that he is making her a good coffin.
“‘I give her my word,’ Anse says. ‘It is sacred on me. I know you begrudge it, but she will bless you in heaven.'”
Faulkner, “As I Lay Dying,” 140.
Though he skimps on many expenses throughout the journey to bury his wife in Jefferson (such as refusing to purchase a new spade to dig the grave with), Anse believes his honor rests on fulfilling Addie’s wish. It is this belief that propels the family on the strenuous forty mile journey to Jefferson with her body. Faulkner conjures the absurd and darkly comical when he writes what Anse Bundren deems as respectable, honorable, and dignified.
“He could do so much for me if he just would. He could do everything for me. It’s like everything in the world for me is inside a tub full of guts, so that you wonder how there can be any room in it for anything else very important. He is a big tub of guts and I am a little tub of guts and if there is not any room for anything else important in a big tub of guts, how can it be room in a little tub of guts.”
– Faulker, As I Lay Dying, pg 58
It seems as though Dewey doesn’t feel very respected or has enough room in her life to do important things such as taking care of the family once her mother passes. She just wants help, and feels as though there’s an imbalance as ‘he’ is a big tub, and she is the small tub.
“How many times I told him it’s doing such things as that that makes folks talk about him, I don’t know” ( Faulkner 105).
Faulkner, W., & Faulkner, W. (1990). As I lay dying: The corrected text: Three novels: A summer of Faulkner. Vintage.
Anse answers his own rhetorical question, making himself the most important part of the sentence which highlights his narcissistic and selfish nature. In regards to dignity, he only seems concerned about societies opinion of his children rather than them genuinely respecting his deceased wife.