A Commentary On One Of Darl
’s Sections Of William Faulkners ‘ Essay, Research Paper
English A1 HL
As I Lay Dying 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.