The Bundren Family

Addie Bundren - As the matriarch of the Bundren family, Addie is the absent protagonist of the novel. A former schoolteacher, she married Anse Bundren after a brief courtship and bore him four children: Cash, Darl, Dewey Dell and Vardaman. As the result of an affair with Whitfield, Addie is also mother to an illegitimate child, Jewel. At the outset of the novel, Addie is gravely ill, and dies soon thereafter. Her dying wish to be buried with her relatives in Jefferson, the capital of Yoknapatawpha County, provides the impetus for the novel\'s action.

Anse Bundren - Anse, the patriarch of the Bundren family, is a poor farmer who feels duty-bound to honor his late wife\'s burial request. But his unhalting ambition to deliver Addie to rest in Jefferson at any cost and despite all hardships serves to cast doubt on both his intelligence and his motives. Upon finally arriving in Jefferson, Anse quickly makes good on his promise to Addie, and then proceeds to acquire a new set of false teeth and a second bride.

Cash Bundren - The eldest of the Bundren children, Cash is an aspiring carpenter who occupies himself with the construction of his mother\'s coffin during her dying days. After previously enduring a broken leg when he fell from the roof of a church, he re-injures the same leg in the journey to bury Addie while attempting to cross a river with a wagon in the face of flood conditions. For the rest of the novel Cash is incapacitated, and as the result of a shoddy attempt to set his injured leg in cement, he is hobbled for life.

Darl Bundren - The next eldest of the Bundren children, Darl delivers the largest number of interior monologues in the novel. An extremely sensitive and articulate young man, he is grief stricken by the death of his mother and the plight of his family\'s burial journey. After he sets fire to the Gillespie barn in an attempt to incinerate his mother\'s corpse, his family commits him against his will to a mental institution in Jackson.

Jewel - The bastard child borne of Addie\'s affair with Whitfield, Jewel lives with the Bundren family as though he were completely of it. However, his unique antecedents inspire within him a fiercely independent turn of mind. As an adolescent, he secretly earned enough money to purchase his own horse, and his self-sufficiency leads to frequent clashes with Anse. A large young man, younger than Darl but older than Dewey Dell, he is as physically active as he is imposing, hauling Addie across the flooding river and rescuing her from the burning barn.

Dewey Dell Bundren - Dewey Dell, the only Bundren daughter, is a seventeen year-old with a libidinous streak. She becomes pregnant after an affair with Lafe, and seeks an abortion in Jefferson.

Vardaman Bundren - Vardaman is the youngest of the Bundren children. The fish he catches on the day of his mother\'s death comes to stand as a symbol of her life and her passing.

Vernon Tull - Vernon tull is a wealthier farmer who lives near the Bundrens. He visits the Bundrens frequently during Addie\'s last days, and assists them in their river crossing during the funeral journey.

Cora Tull - Cora, Vernon Tull\'s wife, is a reverentially pious woman who, along with her daughters Kate and Eula, helps Dewey Dell to care for Addie in her final hours.

Whitfield - Whitfield is a local minister who carries out an illicit affair with Addie Bundren, resulting in the birth of Jewel.

Peabody - Peabody is an overweight rural doctor who attends to Addie and later to Cash.

Samson - Samson is a local farmer who puts up the Bundrens on the first evening of their funeral journey.

Armstid - Armstid is a local farmer who puts up the Bundrens on the second and third evenings of their funeral journey.

Moseley - Moseley is a druggist in Mottson who refuses to help Dewey Dell in her search for abortion medicine.

MacGowan - MacGowan is an employee at a drug store in Jefferson who poses as a doctor in an attempt to seduce Dewey Dell when she inquires after abortion medicine.

Part 1

Summary

Darl describes his approach with Jewel from the field toward the main house. They