Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is, on the whole, a realistic novel which seeks to portray the misery of poverty in the deep south.

However, the ending very much took me by surprise. Anse, the father of the Bundren family, borrows some shovels from a mysterious house. Later:

He announces to his family that the woman from whom he borrowed the shovels is his new wife.

Note: further spoilers follow which I have not hidden in tags.

There are several unanswered questions with this ending. Most pressing: who is this woman? Have she and Anse been corresponding and if so, for how long? If not, why has she suddenly agreed to marry Anse? For that matter, since Anse is relatively old and portrayed as lazy and selfish, why would anyone agree to marry him at all?

It seems a rather unsatisfactory close to proceedings: why did Faulkner choose to end this way?


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