Summary and Analysis Sections 42-44

With the resumption of the journey, Darl’s narrations become much more intricate and involved. The intricacy of his narration might be Faulkner’s way of preparing us for Darl’s later problems with alleged insanity. For example, in Section 42, the technique employed is that the parts in italics refer to Jewel and the non-italicized print refers to the actions of the other Bundrens. Darl’s mind is not focusing on one incident but is fluctuating between two or more incidents.

Again in this section, we are in the presence of a mixture of the comic and tragic. Cash’s leg apparently hurts so badly that he is only semiconscious and vomits when they move him. But his vomiting makes Anse think that maybe he got a kick in the stomach, whereas Cash is suffering from the constant movement of his broken leg. Likewise, the safest place they can put him is on top of the wet coffin. But even though Addie doesn’t smell as bad at this moment because of the dunking in the water, in the final analysis this soaking will cause the body to deteriorate even more rapidly. Thus, in total, the scene is almost fantastic or absurd and possesses elements of the pathetic, the humorous, the grotesque, and the tragic.

Equally pathetic is the brutal treatment that Cash has to undergo. However, all through these episodes Cash never utters a word of complaint and simply accepts that which he cannot escape.

Throughout these sections, the selfishness and hypocrisy of Anse are further revealed. The reader must keep in mind that during the episodes, Anse himself has money that he has saved for his new false teeth, although he claims that he sacrificed the money to buy the team. Moreover, he steals from his own children.

These sections also indicate something of Addie’s prophecy, which is fulfilled only because Jewel allows his horse to be sold so that the journey can continue. For Jewel to sacrifice his horse indicates the extent of his inexpressible love for his mother.

While Darl’s thought processes are becoming more intricate, Vardaman’s thought processes become somewhat more confused. He is trying in these sections to determine the family relationships to one another.

Vardaman has never been able to accept his mother’s death. It does not conform to any sense of reality that he has thus far encountered. His thinking, while confused, is an effort to bring divergent facts into a logical whole. He thinks of his mother as a fish and of Jewel’s mother as a horse, and yet he knows that he and Jewel are brothers. Thus his confusion is a type of method in madness: he makes valid conclusions while working with false premises.

The dominant image throughout these sections is that of the buzzards, which have increased in number as the journey progressed. These buzzards function as a horrible reminder of the inhuman desecration of Addie Bundren’s dead body.

Finally, it is revealed that Cash must suffer so tremendously because Anse does not want to be “beholden” to the Armstids by leaving Cash there in a bed. We assume that as long as it is someone else who is suffering, Anse doesn’t mind too much.