As I Lay Dying, 171 (Event)

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So I took Anse. And when I knew
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The Twenties (1920-1929)
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Narrative Status: 
Sunday, January 1, 1893 to Friday, December 31, 1897

Here Addie reflects on her children and their impact upon her life. After she had Cash she "knew that living was terrible and that this was the answer to it" (171). She speaks of how her aloneness had been violated then made whole by that violation. Then came Darl. After Darl was born she asked Anse to bury her in Jefferson. She then speaks of waiting in the woods for "him" (unnamed here, but we will discover that this was Whitfield). Afterwards she has Jewel. Addie says she gave Dewey Dell to and Vardaman to negate and replace the child "I had robbed him of" (176).
The location of where (and when) this event "occurs" is very problematic. Faulkner leaves this ambiguous in the novel. The placement in the novel flows a few chapters after the crossing of the river. Nevertheless, it does seem to answer the "Cora" chapter that comes right before it. This section of the novel labeled "Addie" (169-176) is hard to locate in time or in place. Faulkner does not make it clear as to whether Addie is speaking to us after her death or is this chapter something that she narrates on her death bed (or even earlier).


Addie remembers when Cash was born. Sex was a violation of her aloneness, but at the same time having a child made her feel "whole again" (172). Anse called it all "love" (172), but she did not need a word for it.

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Maternity, Words, Aloneness, Violation, Lack, Time