As I Lay Dying

How do Dewey Dell and Jewel react when the men come for Darl?

Pages 232-261. 

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

In discussing the plan to commit Darl, Anse seems to welcome it: "ŒI reckon he ought to be there,' pa says. ŒGod knows, it's a trial on me'" (219). Anse, as usual, is thinking only of himself. He evaluates Darl's institutionalization only in terms of convenience. Dewey Dell and Jewel are downright hostile. When Darl tries to escape, Dewey Dell leaps on him "like a wildcat" (224); when they have Darl pinned, Jewel snarls "Kill him . . . Kill the son of a bitch" (225). Most readers have tremendous sympathy for Darl. And while Jewel seems initially to be an impressive character, his behavior here leaves a distinctly unfavorable impression of him. Remember that only a few hours ago Darl intervened and possibly saved him from serious harm. Jewell is full of venom against Darl because Darl dared to ask Jewel about his fatherhood. Dewey Dell is angry at Darl because his powers of observation make her feel violated; in fact, it was probably Dewey Dell who told Gillespie about Darl setting the fire (224). The two siblings turn savagely on Darl at the end. The theme of isolation is developed in a surprising way: Dewey Dell and Jewel feel their aloneness violated by Darl, and they betray him in the most horrible way imaginable.