Notes on As I Lay Dying Themes

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As I Lay Dying Topic Tracking: Religion

Religion 1: Cora Tull bakes cakes and speaks of the Lord with her daughter Kate. She reminds Kate that money is unimportant in the eyes of God. God only cares about people's hearts and emotions.

Religion 2: Cora Tull relies on her strong faith in God to direct her during this hard time. She wants to help her neighbor, Addie, and will do whatever she can to aid the family in her dying days. She witnesses, what she believes to be, Darl's deep concern for his mother and Jewel's supposed cold-heartedness. This initial observation taints her opinion of the family for the remainder of the novel.

Religion 3: After Addie dies, Tull sees his pious wife helping the Bundren family. He thinks that if anybody were to replace the Lord, Cora would be the best person for the job. She might make a few changes, but they would be changes that would be good for all mankind.

Religion 4: Whitfield is the local minister with whom Addie had an affair years earlier. The relationship resulted in Jewel. He arrives at the Bundren home to direct the funeral according to Christian faith. Cora continues to sing to the Lord for Addie's soul to rest in heaven.

Religion 5: When the men are finally seated in the wagon, Cash prays to the Lord that he made his mother's coffin well. Despite their lack of religious observance, the Bundrens still pray to God in their times of need.

Religion 6: As Dewey Dell looks around at her family and the land, she decides that she believes in God. Despite her unbridled lust and unborn child with Lafe, she thinks that she may believe in a higher power.

Religion 7: When Tull finally offers his mules to Anse, he gives him his word of honor. Anse tells Tull that Addie will bless him in heaven for being so kind a man and so good a Christian.

Religion 8: Cora recalls a conversation she had with Addie about sinning. Addie believes her daily life to be absolution of sin, while Cora insists upon religious observance. They disagree on the religious methods in which they live their lives. However, Cora continues to pray for Addie and believes her only sin is loving Jewel over Darl.

Religion 9: Cora tries to convince Addie to confess her sins so that she can go to heaven after death. Instead of submitting to religious observance, Addie submits to the sin of adultery with a man of the cloth - Whitfield the priest.

Religion 10: Whitfield wants to see Anse before Addie dies so that he can be forgiven for his sins. He never gets to see Addie before her death and consequently blesses Tull's house as a seeming replacement. His religious devotion seems to be interchangeable.

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