Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Section Seven, narrated by Dewey Dell

By William Faulkner

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Section Seven, narrated by Dewey Dell

  • Dewey Dell recalls a time when she and a worker, Lafe, went cotton-picking by the woods.
  • Now, by cotton-picking, she means cotton-picking and sex.
  • It went like this: she said that, if by the time they got to the woods her sack was full with cotton, she would do it because she couldn’t help it. On the other hand, if her sack was partly empty by the time they reached the woods, it was God’s way of telling her that she wasn’t supposed to have sex.
  • So Lafe put all his cotton into her sack to ensure it would be full. (If only she had had a coin to toss…)
  • Reflecting on that afternoon, Dewey Dell doesn’t think that her brothers and dad will care about her having sex, since they never pay attention to her anyway.
  • Unfortunately, now her sack really is full. (She’s pregnant.)
  • And Darl knows, in this tacit way that Dewey Dell describes as "without the words" (7.3).
  • Dewey Dell’s narrative provides more of the dialogue that we heard in the last section – but this version is a bit different. Darl admits to his sister that Addie is going to die before they get back, and that he’s bringing Jewel with him "to help [him] load" the wagon.

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