“As I Lay Dying” Harkness Blog Post

One scene from As I Lay Dying that portrayed villains and secrecy was the scene where Anse argued with Dewey Dell about her ten dollars. This scene seemed to encompass the unfair way the family viewed and treated Dewey Dell throughout the entire book. To begin with, Dewey Dell repeatedly tells Anse the money does not belong to her. This struck me as so incredibly sad, because she’s seventeen, pregnant, completely alone, and she cannot even claim the ten dollars Lafe gives her to “take care of” her problem as her own. The pregnancy must be kept completely secret, and because of this Lafe no longer has to worry about anything (no one will find out he is involved) while Dewey Dell must shoulder the burden. Then, later into the passage, she says, “Its not mine, I tell you. If it was, God knows you could have it” (792). She spends the entire book completely at the mercy of nearly every male character, and there is nothing she can do to fight back against it. She feels like she should give Anse the money, but also feels like the money belongs to Lafe. Anse and Lafe become the villains in this situation through their suppression of Dewey Dell. Having no claim to the money she is going to use for an abortion accurately sums up Dewey Dell’s treatment in the book.

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