Fulfilling a promise they had made to their mother, Addie, Cash, Darl,
Jewel, Dewey Dell, and Vardaman, in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, journey
across the Mississippi countryside to bring her body to be buried in Jefferson,
alongside her immediate family. Each one, in turn, narrates the events of this
excursion as they are perceived. Though all of the family members are going
through the same experiences, each one expresses what they see and how they
feel by exercising their individual powers and limitations of language. What
each character says as well as how he/she says it gives insight into that
character's underlying meanings.
Darl, for example, uses his linguistic skills to gain power as narrator.
He possesses the ability to pick up on things unsaid and to read other
people's actions. Dewey Dell describes his intuitiveness when she says that "
he said he knew without the words, and I knew he knew because if he had said
he knew with words I would not have believed and that's why I can talk to him
with knowing with hating with because he knows" (27). He uses his gift of
realizing things without them having to actually be told to him to gain
credibility with the reader. Who would doubt a narrator who possesses that
type of adroitness? Also, his language is clear and reflective. He uses
similes and metaphors and appears to have an acute awareness of spatial
relationships. Darl's sophisticated perception and poetic linguistics give him
the means of reaching for and maintaining his role as a competent observer and
reporter. However, his position does create certain problems for his siblings.
Tull describes Darl's "look" as being uncanny.
"He is looking at me. He dont say
nothing; just looks at me with them
queer eyes of hisn that makes folks
talk. I always say it aint never
been what he done so much or said or... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). As I Lay Dying: Character's Words and Insight to Underlying Meanings. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Lay-Dying-Characters-Words-Insight-Underlying-1692.html
"As I Lay Dying: Character's Words and Insight to Underlying Meanings" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Lay-Dying-Characters-Words-Insight-Underlying-1692.html>.
"As I Lay Dying: Character's Words and Insight to Underlying Meanings." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Lay-Dying-Characters-Words-Insight-Underlying-1692.html.