Her youngest son drill holes in her casket so her body can breathe, but he drills through to her face. He refuses to admit to any discomfort, but the family eventually puts a makeshift cast of concrete on his leg, which makes his leg worse.Twice, the family almost loses Addie’s coffin, the first time while crossing a river on a washed-out bridge (where two mules are lost).
Each of the narrators has a specific reason for making the trip. Along the way, Anse and the five children encounter various difficulties.
Anse stubbornly refuses to accept any charity, including meals or lodging, from people, so at times, the family goes hungry and sleeps in barns.
As the story continues, we see that Addie was a proud and bitter woman.
She had no interest in the kind gestures of others, including the religious comfort offered during her last moments by her neighbor, Cora Tull.
Jewel, Addie’s middle child, tries to leave his dysfunctional family, but he feels he cannot turn his back on them.
Many incidents occur which delay Addie’s body getting to Jefferson to be buried in the soil of her hometown.Addie, a wife and mother in a poor farming family, is on her deathbed; she and others expect her to die soon.Friends and family members gather around to comfort her and to prepare for her funeral.Those setbacks make the trip longer than expected, and Addie’s body begins to decompose.After nine days, the family finally arrives in Jefferson, where the stench from the coffin is noticed by the townspeople.He realizes he will need shovels to bury her, and borrows shovels from a woman nearby.Before Addie’s burial, however, Darl is seized for the arson of the barn and is sent to the Mississippi State Insane Asylum in Jackson.She felt her husband was entirely useless and unable to accomplish just about anything, but she got him to promise to honor her dying wish.The night after Addie dies, a heavy rainstorm sets in.To save the day and honor his mother’s wish, Jewel rescues Addie’s body.Darl uses every obstacle or setback to try to prevent Addie’s casket from getting to Jefferson.