"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.
We see his shoulders strain as he up-ends the coffin and slides it single-handed from the saw-horses. It looms unbelievably tall, hiding him: I would not have believed that Addie Bundren would have needed that much room to lie comfortable in; for another instant it stands upright while the sparks rain on it in scattering bursts as though they engendered other sparks from the contact. […] This time Jewel is riding upon it, clinging to it. (50.16)
Look at the specific language used in this passage. The coffin almost becomes a being in itself, something alive… something Jewel can ride…like a horse. Hmmm!
But when we got it filled and covered and drove out the gate and turned into the lane where them fellows was waiting, when they come out and come on him and he jerked back, it was Dewey Dell that was on him before even Jewel could get at him (53.40).
Addie’s burial is not the momentous occasion it was previously made out to be. In fact, it’s not even covered in the narration. What do you make of that?
"It’s just a loan. God knows, I hate for my blooden children to reproach me. But I give them what was mine without stint. Cheerful I give them, without stint. And now they deny me. Addie. It was lucky for you you died, Addie." (58.24)
Anse begins to realize what the reader has known all along: that death is the best deal around.