Study Guide

As I Lay Dying Suffering

By William Faulkner

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Suffering is very much a part of every day life in As I Lay Dying. The novel tells the story of a poverty-stricken family traveling to bury their mother during the 1920s in Mississippi. Times are tough and the difficult journey brings obstacle after obstacle. As each family member is forced to give up his or her dreams – and needs, in some cases – it becomes clear that death is really the best option around, and a welcome alternative to the hardship of their lives.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Which character suffers the most in As I Lay Dying? The least?
  2. Which kind of suffering is the most destructive in this novel – physical, or emotional?
  3. What causes the suffering the Bundrens face? Are they responsible for their own misery, or is it, as Anse believes, simply a case of bad luck?

Chew on This

The Bundren children intentionally inflict emotional pain on one another in response to their mother’s death.

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