As I Lay Dying

Darl: Narrator or Character? College

William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying tells the story of the Bundren family when the matriarch of the family dies. Faulkner alternates perspectives between each member of the family and their neighbors. While most characters focus on their thoughts around Addie’s death, Darl Bundren is more aware of his surroundings. He focuses on appearances and sensory details rather than how he feels about his mother’s death. Faulkner writes Darl this way to show his personality. Faulkner shows the audience Darl’s personality rather than telling them about Darl. If Faulkner had used stream of consciousness as he did with the other characters, he would have contradicted how he wanted to craft Darl.

When the audience is introduced to Darl, he and Jewel are walking home when he hears Cash making their mother’s coffin. Darl vividly describes the cotton house and how Jewel cuts through it to be ahead of him. He relates, “The path runs straight as a plumb-line, worn smooth by feet and baked brick-hard by July…” (Faulkner 3). Already we can start to put together Darl’s character. He pays close attention to detail even in the most trying times. As the audience continues to read and experiences different characters, they can clearly see that Darl is the...

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