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Just like no two people are the same, no two relationships are either.

Each interaction,

connection, or bond is unique in its own way. In the novel ​As I Lay Dying​ by William Faulkner,

there are various intimate relationships presented that are quite peculiar. These marriages,

affairs, and other forms of intimacy affect others as well, particularly friends, parents, and


The relationship of Addie and Anse is very unique to say the least. Although there are

limited interactions described between the couple, it becomes apparent through various

narratives that their bond is somewhat devoid of love and ultimately success. Anse is perceived

to be a lazy person and relies on everyone else to work. Darl one day describes his poor work

ethic around the farm. “There is no sweat stain on his shirt. I have never seen a sweat stain on

his shirt. He was sick once from working in the sun when he was twenty-two years old, and he

tells people that if he ever sweats, he will die. I suppose he believes it” (Faulkner 17). Because

of Anse’s lethargic tendencies, Addie was the primary caretaker. After Addie died, Dewey Dell

felt that she needed to fill in the the gap and become the new mother figure of the family. This

need for her to step up to the plate would affect her decision on what to do with her baby when

she becomes pregnant. Because of her responsibilities at home, and having to raise her nine year

old brother in particular, Dewey Dell decides to abort the baby. If Anse weren’t as lazy and took

a larger role in being a parent, Dewey Dell may not have felt obligated to assume her mother’s

role and consequently abort the baby.

A second complicated relationship in Faulkner’s text is the bond between Lafe and

Dewey Dell. After Lafe and Dewey Dell’s romp in the hay, Miss Bundren becomes pregnant.

Because they did not want to get married, and their lack of preparedness to have a child, Lafe
and Dewey Dell decide to terminate the pregnancy. On the way to Jefferson to bury her mother,

Dewey Dell goes to a drugstore to purchase turpentine, a common drug used during this era to

abort a child, which almost always resulted in the death of the mother as well. When Dewey

Dell requests to buy this drug, the drug store owner gave her a hard time. “‘Well I haven’t got

anything in my store you want to buy’ I said, ‘unless it’s a nipple. And I’d advise you to buy

that and go back home and tell your pa, if you have one, and let him make somebody buy you a

wedding license’” (Faulkner 201). Dewey Dell is not able to get an abortion and therefore

remains pregnant. The character that is influenced the most through Dewey Dell and Lafe’s one

night stand is the unborn baby itself. Neither one of them associate the child with joy; it is more

of a worry and a hassle, and would rather abort it than raise it.

Although this intimate relation was only briefly mentioned, Anse and the new Mrs.

Bundren directly impacted the rest of the Bundren family. In the very last sentence of the novel,

Anse says, “‘ Meet Mrs. Bundren’” (Faulkner 261). Although the reactions of the children are

not recorded, it heavily influences them and it is assumed that there would be some feelings or

reaction towards it. Having a mother pass on can be quite detrimental to both the husband and

children as well. Each had different connections and relations with Addie and attempted to show

their love and affection in different ways. Therefore, having their mother replaced with someone

they know as the person who lent them shovels to bury their dead mother can be quite shocking

and hard to process.

People involved in intimate relations tend to affect others around them. Whether it is to

turn to a friend for advice on the relationship or because one is the child of the couple, these

intimate bonds heavily influence others. Unfortunately in the novel ​As I Lay Dying​ written by
William Faulkner, these relations tend to affect the family and and friends surrounding them in a

negative manner. Characters such as Dewey Dell and her unborn baby face the turmoil that

these relations have caused them. Relationships affect people in different ways, yet intimate

bonds tend to influence people the most.