“As I Lay Dying” is a tale told by a multitude of narrators all working to bury Addie Bundren, the now dead matriarch of the Bundren family. Anse, Darl, Tull, Cash, Jewel, Dewey Dell, Vardaman and a cast of minor characters all navigate through a series of misfortunes to carry out Addie's final wish: to be carried back to her home town of Jefferson, Mississippi.
On the way to Jefferson, Addie's body decomposes in the extraordinarily hot weather and produces a foul smell. The weather conditions are atrocious; the constant rain has flooded out the main bridges. When the family tries to cross the most stable of the bridges, it collapses, sending the horses, Cash and the coffin into the rising water. Cash survives, but he suffers a broken leg that festers all the way to Jefferson. Barns catch on fire, and Dewey Dell is preoccupied with a secret. The question remains: will Addie's final wish be carried out?
The novel is composed primarily of stream of conscious monologues from each of the Bundren family members.
This report prepared by Anna Ellermeyer