© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying


by William Faulkner

Analysis: Three Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Everyone waits for Addie to die. Then…she dies.

Act II

The Bundrens’ journey to Jefferson is rough and full of obstacles, including the weather, sabotage from within the family, and general hatred/mutual animosity between the family members themselves. The act ends when Darl burns down the Gillespie barn.


The family arrives in Jefferson only to have Darl dragged off to be institutionalized. Addie is buried, Dewey Dell doesn’t get an abortion, Cash’s leg is ruined, and Anse welcomes a new Mrs. Bundren to the family.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...