Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Mortality

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As I Lay Dying suggests that dying is a relief from the suffering of life. Religious characters in the novel believe that, because death is a reward, it provides the motivation to live one’s life well. Get done everything you need to get done, and you’ll be granted…death. The physical process of death is a large part of the novel as well, however, so mortality is far from glorified. The smell of a rotting corpse hangs on every chapter, reminding the reader that death is both spiritual and visceral.

Questions About Mortality

  1. How does Addie maintain a presence in the novel even after her death?
  2. Which character has the healthiest reaction/deals best with his mother’s death? Which characters are unable to process the event?
  3. How does Addie’s death shape the way that those outside the family view the Bundrens?

Chew on This

Death is the only relief from suffering in As I Lay Dying.

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