As I Lay Dying
by William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying Section Twenty, narrated by Tull Summary
- Two local men, Quick and Armstid, discuss how the local bridge is about to break from wear and weather. The Bundrens will need to cross that bridge in order to get to Jefferson.
- Vernon has brought back Peabody’s horses and offers to fix the damage. Peabody suspects that Vardaman, who has been missing, is responsible for cutting them loose.
- Cash has fixed up the extra holes in the coffin by carefully carving out wooden circles.
- Addie was put in the coffin backwards (her head where the feet are supposed to be), because she’s wearing her wedding dress, which is flared at the bottom and needs some extra room. They placed a veil over her face to cover the holes.
- At the funeral ceremony, the minister, Whitfield, arrives late and announces that the aforementioned bridge has been washed away. Then everyone sings.
- Several local men discuss the Bundrens’ upcoming trip to Jefferson. They think it’s madness to attempt such a journey, especially since the bridge is now out, but they understand that Addie desperately wanted to be buried there with her own family.
- Cash joins the group, and they discuss his old injury. He broke his leg when he fell 28 feet from the top of a church. (He was doing something carpentry-related up there.)
- Tull listens to the singing of the minister and of the women. His wife keeps it up, even on the way home.
- Vernon figures that, however bad Addie had it, at least she’s free from Anse now.
- In an italicized portion of narration, Vernon offers to lend his wagon to transport the coffin to Jefferson, but Anse refuses and instead waits three days for Darl and Jewel to come home, pick up a replacement wheel, and then return with the fixed wagon.
- Still on the ride home from the Bundrens’, Tull and his wife spot Vardaman sitting with a fishing pole on the edge of a fish-less swamp. Tull tries to tell him that it’s no use, but he says that Dewey Dell told him there was a big fish in there.
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