As I Lay Dying By William Faulkner Summary and Analysis Sections 55-59

Section 55 is one of the most humorous sections in the book. It is filled with earthy and bawdy humor and shows the small-town rascal taking advantage of the country girl, a classically humorous situation in American folktales.

The reader should make the contrast here with the druggist from Mottson who became indignant with Dewey Dell. The earlier druggist is seen to be very ethical and offers Dewey Dell some good advice. But this second person (who is actually not a druggist) merely uses Dewey Dell for his own pleasure.

By the end of this section, we know that all of Dewey Dell's efforts (including her attack on Darl) are of no avail; she is still pregnant and will remain so.

Section 56 is another view of the same event narrated in the preceding section. After Dewey Dell emerges from her seduction, she knows that it is not going to work. Her comment (that it won't work), which is repeated as a sort of refrain, is essentially comic in that she approached her seduction in the same way as the cow crosses the square, just clopping on the street.

Section 57 gives the casual reader the impression that perhaps Darl is insane. But the careful reader has seen Darl's intricate reasoning powers earlier in the book. As Darl looks at his predicament, he laughs to himself about the absurdity of it all. One might say that his position is so absurd that he must laugh or else really lose his sanity.

The reader must also recreate the exact nature of the scene that Darl sees, and then the reader will realize that this scene is innately comic. Perhaps here Darl laughs because he realizes how fortunate he is to escape from this bizarre Bundren world.

In the last two sections, Faulkner is showing the reader the type of world or family which Darl is escaping from. In this section, we see that while Anse has been murmuring platitudes about how a man should respect a dead woman, he has actually been preparing to marry the "duck-shaped woman." And the reader, who knows the Bundrens now, would have to agree that a sensitive person such as Darl is indeed better off anywhere rather than with the Bundrens.

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