Summary and Analysis Sections 45-47

The section that is narrated by Moseley is given as an ultimate contrast to the later section narrated by the Jefferson druggist, MacGowan. Each druggist functions as a comment upon the other. This section also plays an important function in that it gives the reader the outside view that is again needed. For too long we have remained with the Bundren family. Suddenly, it is made clear to us that Addie is just a dead rotting body that is now eight days old in a hot Mississippi July sun.

Through the indignant responses of the Mottson sheriff and the druggist, we gain an impartial view of the Bundrens, which helps us to prepare for Darl’s reaction in the forthcoming sections. And finally, that the Bundrens are buying concrete so as to repair Cash’s leg reminds us of the incompetence of the entire Bundren family, and our opinion is confirmed by the sheriff’s horror at the idea of the Bundrens undertaking such a task. The sheriff’s outside, objective view forces us to maintain a distance from the actions of the Bundrens and aids us in analyzing them objectively.

Section 46, narrated by Darl, captures that strange essence that flavors this entire part of the novel. While it is never stated directly, we know that Anse is going to put the homemade concrete cast on Cash because he has already bought the cement — not to use the cement would be a foolish waste. Ironically, Cash is much worse off with the cast than he would have been without it.

Vardaman then takes over the narration and still tries to determine the exact relationships among the family, but his thought process is interrupted by his concern with the buzzards. His concern though is, in reality, only out of curiosity to see where the buzzards stay at night. This concern will allow him to be present when Darl sets fire to the barn.