As I Lay Dying
by William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying Poverty Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Section.Paragraph) Every "section" is marked by a shift in narrative point of view.
So when Miss Lawington told me about the cakes I thought that I could bake them and earn enough at one time to increase the net value of the flock the equivalent of two head. And that by saving the eggs out one at a time, even the eggs wouldn’t be costing anything. And that week they laid so well that I not only saved out enough eggs above what we had engaged to sell, to bake the cakes with, I had saved enough so that the flour and the sugar and the stove wood would not be costing anything. (2.1)
Faulkner very skillfully contrasts Cora’s obsessive concern over something so trivial – the cost of the cakes – with the gravity of Addie’s death.
"We’ll need that three dollars then, sure," I say. (5.8)
Darl parts with his dying mother for a mere three dollars. (Though keep in mind that three dollars was a lot more money then than it is today.) Still, the point is that the Bundrens’ poverty is so restrictive that it affects all their decisions, even during this family crisis.
"Why didn’t you send for me sooner?" I say.
"Hit was jest one thing and then another," he says. "That ere corn me and the boys was aimin’ to git up with, and Dewey Dell a-takin’ good keer of her, and folks comin’ in, a-offerin’ to help and sich, till I jest thought…"
"Damn the money," I say. "Did you ever hear of me worrying a fellow before he was ready to pay?" (11.16-7)
Anse risks his wife’s life just to save money. As readers, we may be inclined to condemn him for this, but it soon becomes clear that even the smallest amount of money is a matter of life and death for the Bundrens.