As I Lay Dying: Styles Used By William Faulkner
-Darl’s Section (p.128)
Most authors have certain styles that result in bringing across certain
ideas. In As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner uses a subtle and discreet narrative
manner to bring forth important pieces of information that adds to the story,
and important themes. In one of the chapters narrated by Darl, this is shown
very well In this chapter Darl uses a flashback to let us get a more in-depth
look at the Bundren family; to let us see why it is so “dysfunctional.” In this
chapter we learn more about the relationships within the family, and more about
Addie, about whom we previously have not learned much. We see how keen Darl’s
sense of intuition is, and we learn an important family secret.
Darl is often used as an objective speaker, although he is indeed
involved with the situation he is speaking about. In this chapter he recalls
Jewel’s purchase of his horse. This is a strong clue that Jewel is not Anse’s
son, since Anse is extremely lazy and would never work as hard as Jewel did for
a horse. We also see the tension between Anse and Jewel. We see the lack of
respect Jewel has for Anse. It is rather ironic when Anse says “He’s just lazy,
trying me” (p. 129) Since Jewel has been working really hard, and it is Anse who
is lazy. Furthering on Jewel and Anse’s relationship, I feel that it is fairly
evident that Jewel knows that Anse is not his father. This is illustrated in the
following section on page 136: “Jewel looked at Pa, his eyes paler than ever.
‘He won’t never eat a mouthful of yours’ he said. ‘Not a mouthful. I’ll kill him
first. Don’t you never think it. Don’t you never.’ “The antagonism Jewel holds
toward Anse is enormous, and this scene intensifies it showing that Jewel knows
the truth or at least has a fair idea. We also see that Darl knows, and how he
knows. At the end of the chapter, he sees his mother crying over Jewel when he
is sleeping. He could see her anguish and almost feel it. His empathy and
intuition led him to discovering the truth, and he also confirms his knowledge
of Dewey Dell’s pregnancy. We see the strength of his intuition and how it
affects the rest of the family. The fact that Darl knows probably heightens the
rivalry between the two brothers.
In this chapter we see the way the family was before Addie’s death and
illness. We see interaction between the brothers, and almost affection toward
Jewel on behalf of Darl and Cash. When they see him sleeping all the time, they
worry, until they think they’ve figured it out, and then it’s just a brotherly
secret. We also see Cash and Darl’s apprehension in approaching Jewel. This
singles him out again. What singles him out even further is Addie’s partiality
towards him. We see this in the beginning of the chapter when she worries about
him and argues with Anse to let him spend the day at home. This is also evident
when we see her getting the other children to do his jobs along with their own
so as to let him rest. We can see that Cash resents this, but the other children
seem to be impartial. The fact that Addie does secret things for Jewel is rather
ironic, as Jewel is her secret. The irony furthers when we see Addie has always
considered deceit to be one of the worst sins. Perhaps this is so as to keep her
mind off the larger sin at hand; adultery.
All in all this chapter shows us the goings on inside the Bundren family
before Addie began to weaken. This is important as it shows the conditions in
which the characters were brought up in and shows why they act like they do.
This chapter is also important as it foreshadows on Jewel’s situation, and on
Addie’s chapter. This chapter is important as it shows how the rivalry between
Darl and Jewel came about. Faulkner uses Darl’s empathy and intuition to subtly
bring in this foreshadowing and the feelings between the brothers.
NOTE: Received an A-, this class is equal to the American College Course of
sophomore English/ World Literature.