Addie Bundren is dying, while her children come to terms with her death’s aftermath. William Faulkner’s powerful novel of a poor Southern family, As I Lay Dying is narrated by the alternating voices of the Bundren family. As Addie’s taciturn son, Cash, doggedly makes a coffin, sons Darl and Jewel go off on an errand for the neighboring Tull family, missing their mother’s last breath. Youngest child Vardaman imagines his mother is a fish, and bores holes in her coffin so that she can breathe. The main action of the story revolves around the dangerous mission of moving the coffin across a swollen river to the cemetery in Jefferson, which results in a broken leg for Cash, and the drowning of a mule. When the coffin begins to smell, Darl sets fire to the barn at the Gillespie farm, where the coffin is left overnight. When the family finally reaches town, Darl is forcibly removed to a mental hospital, daughter Dewey Dell is hoodwinked by a slick town boy, and father Anse Bundren speedily marries a new wife. A devastating tragicomedy of dizzying proportions, As I Lay Dying is recommended for high school readers.