Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Section Eleven, narrated by Peabody

By William Faulkner

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Section Eleven, narrated by Peabody

  • Peabody, the doctor, has been called by Anse and is making his way to the Bundrens’. At first he wondered if Tull had called him on behalf of the Bundrens, but he realizes that only Anse is unlucky enough to have summoned a doctor when a cyclone was building. He also knows that, if Anse finally decided to call him, it’s probably too late to do anything useful.
  • Peabody is 225 pounds and seventy years old. Since Jewel is not there to control the difficult horse, Peabody must be pulled up the mountain with a rope.
  • When he arrives, Peabody goes to the room where Addie lays. He thinks of death as a mental process, and notes that, in this sense, Addie’s been dead for ten days.
  • Addie looks at the doctor and at "the boy" (Vardaman), but it is only her eyes that move.
  • The doctor sends Anse and Vardaman out, but we are not told what he does while alone with Addie.
  • When Peabody goes out to the porch to talk to Anse, he asks why they didn’t call for him sooner. Anse gives excuses: the corn crop wasn’t working out so well, people have been looking after Addie…besides, he says, her mind is set on dying, so what good would a doctor be anyway?
  • Dewey Dell calls her father in, and they all enter together.
  • Addie stares at Peabody. Dewey Dell claims that this is her way of saying she wants the doctor to leave. He acquiesces, musing that it’s typical for a dying woman to reject empathizers and cling to those who really haven’t helped her at all.
  • "She" (presumably Addie) calls out for Cash.

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