As I Lay Dying
How we cite our quotes:
"She’s a-going," he says. "Her mind is set on it." It’s a hard life on women, for a fact. Some women. I mind my mammy lived to be seventy or more. Worked every day, rain or shine; never a sick day since her last chap was born until one day she kind of looked around her and then she went and taken that lace-trimmed night-gown she had had forty-five years and never wore out of the chest and put it on and laid down on the bed and pulled the covers up and shut her eyes. "You all will have to look out for pa the best you can," she said. "I’m tired." (8.9)
This hints at the way we ought to interpret Addie’s death – as a respite after a long, difficult life. When we finally get to hear Addie’s thoughts on the matter, she confirms this interpretation.
And the next morning they found him in his shirt-tail laying asleep on the floor like a felled steer, and the top of the box bored clean full of holes and Cash’s new auger broke off in the last one. When they taken the lid off her they found that two of them had bored on into her face. (16.28)
Vardaman drilled these holes in the coffin because he thought his mother needed air to breathe. This is another example of the dark irony which pervades As I Lay Dying.
"Who’s talking about him?" she says. "Who cares about him?" she says, crying. "I just wish that you and him and all the men in the world that torture us alive and flout us dead, dragging us up and down the country – " (29.48)
Rachel Samson makes Addie and her death into a symbol for the way women are treated.