"As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner

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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


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...