In As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner uses a subtle and discreet narrativemanner 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 shownvery well In this chapter Darl uses a flashback to let us get a more in-depthlook at the Bundren family; to let us see why it is so “dysfunctional. ” In thischapter we learn more about the relationships within the family, and more aboutAddie, about whom we previously have not learned much. We see how keen Darl’ssense of intuition is, and we learn an important family secret.
Darl is often used as an objective speaker, although he is indeedinvolved with the situation he is speaking about. In this chapter he recallsJewel’s purchase of his horse. This is a strong clue that Jewel is not Anse’sson, since Anse is extremely lazy and would never work as hard as Jewel did fora horse. We also see the tension between Anse and Jewel.
We see the lack ofrespect 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 whois lazy. Furthering on Jewel and Anse’s relationship, I feel that it is fairlyevident that Jewel knows that Anse is not his father. This is illustrated in thefollowing 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 himfirst. Don’t you never think it. Don’t you never. ‘ “The antagonism Jewel holdstoward Anse is enormous, and this scene intensifies it showing that Jewel knowsthe truth or at least has a fair idea.
We also see that Darl knows, and how heknows. At the end of the chapter, he sees his mother crying over Jewel when heis sleeping. He could see her anguish and almost feel it. His empathy andintuition led him to discovering the truth, and he also confirms his knowledgeof Dewey Dell’s pregnancy. We see the strength of his intuition and how itaffects the rest of the family. The fact that Darl knows probably heightens therivalry between the two brothers.
In this chapter we see the way the family was before Addie’s death andillness. We see interaction between the brothers, and almost affection towardJewel on behalf of Darl and Cash. When they see him sleeping all the time, theyworry, until they think they’ve figured it out, and then it’s just a brotherlysecret. We also see Cash and Darl’s apprehension in approaching Jewel. Thissingles him out again. What singles him out even further is Addie’s partialitytowards him.
We see this in the beginning of the chapter when she worries abouthim and argues with Anse to let him spend the day at home. This is also evidentwhen we see her getting the other children to do his jobs along with their ownso as to let him rest. We can see that Cash resents this, but the other childrenseem to be impartial. The fact that Addie does secret things for Jewel is ratherironic, as Jewel is her secret.
The irony furthers when we see Addie has alwaysconsidered deceit to be one of the worst sins. Perhaps this is so as to keep hermind off the larger sin at hand; adultery. All in all this chapter shows us the goings on inside the Bundren familybefore Addie began to weaken. This is important as it shows the conditions inwhich 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 onAddie’s chapter. This chapter is important as it shows how the rivalry betweenDarl and Jewel came about.
Faulkner uses Darl’s empathy and intuition to subtlybring in this foreshadowing and the feelings between the brothers. NOTE: Received an A-, this class is equal to the American College Course ofsophomore English/ World Literature.