As I Lay Dying

Topics: Perception, Sense, Insanity Pages: 4 (1384 words) Published: October 4, 2014
After the relationship between Addie and the rest of her family has been established, the next problem lies in Darl's relationship to the Bundren family, and especially their attitudes toward him. Darl is always elusive, complicated, thought-provoking, poetic in stream-of-consciousness observations, and especially observant of details. It is through Darl's eyes and observations that the reader gets a full perspective of the other characters. Darl is the only character in the book who lives on several, interchangeable levels of consciousness. As a result of this perceptiveness, Darl is able to understand the feelings of others. Perceiving the relations between Jewel and Addie, he taunts Jewel about not having a father; and this taunt stems from Darl's realization that, because of the circumstances of his own birth, he has no mother. Darl is able to comprehend Jewel's inexpressible love for Addie and realizes that the emotions Jewel projects toward his horse substitute for his feelings toward his mother — hence, the accusation that Jewel's mother is a horse. Not only does Darl understand Jewel's feelings for Addie, but he also realizes that Jewel is the "cross" that Addie bears. Consequently, Darl's descriptions or observations of Jewel are full of symbolic, wooden imagery. Darl has penetrated Jewel's inner consciousness and sees the motives behind each of Jewel's actions. The tension mounts steadily between Darl and Jewel as Darl projects himself into the consciousness of Jewel and knows instinctively each of Jewel's motivations, and yet refuses to act. The tension suddenly increases after Jewel sells his horse, and it culminates when, at the end, Jewel violently attacks Darl. Darl's relationship with Dewey is similar to that with Jewel, but on a different level. Again, Darl has been able to project himself into another character's consciousness and senses all the implications concerning Dewey Dell's pregnancy. Her first comment to Darl is: "Are you going to tell...
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