Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Section Two, narrated by Cora

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Section Two, narrated by Cora

  • Cora, the picture of domesticity, baked some cakes yesterday using the eggs from their chickens. She worries because they’ve lost some of their chickens, especially since it was her call to buy the better and more expensive breed.
  • Although she keeps calling him "Mr. Tull," it soon becomes clear that Cora is referring to her husband.
  • She’s baked the cakes in question in order to sell them to Miss Lawington, who unfortunately cancelled her order after the cakes were done.
  • Cora, disappointed, recalls a verse from the Bible: "riches is nothing in the face of the Lord, for He can see into the heart." She hopes she can sell the cakes to someone else.
  • Kate, Cora’s daughter, criticizes Miss Lawington for going against her word. Instead of denouncing Miss Lawington, Cora leaves the judgment for the Lord.
  • Then, mysteriously, we hear a description of a woman who at this point we can only assume is Addie. She lies bedridden, dying, where she can hear Cash working on her coffin on the other side of the wall.
  • And now back to the cakes. (How’s that for contrast, eh?) We learn that Addie was a fantastic baker, and that she has a family of "four men and a tom-boy girl" (2.11). The girl, who we find out later is Dewey Dell, is at the moment fanning her dying mother, who seems asleep but is "watching" Cash.
  • Cora’s other daughter, Eula, is watching Dewey Dell and Addie. Darl walks by and Eula does the Southern Gothic equivalent of flipping her hair. When she sees that Cora is watching her, "her eyes go blank."

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