I Lay Dying By William Faulkner Essay

1001 Words 5 Pages
In William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, a novel with numerous unreliable narrators, readers must strive to seek out the certainties of the story. The strange, scattered italics are one way to understand each speaker’s innermost thoughts. Through the italics in Darl’s chapters, Darl exposes his profound struggles to comprehend his guarded grief and understand Jewel’s more obvious, rational sorrow. The italics, which litter several chapters in a seeming random pattern and focus, reveal that Darl can’t fully accept or comprehend Addie’s death. When he tries to inform Jewel that Addie has died, he writes, “Jewel, I say” (49) three distinct times. Throughout the novel, Darl, usually, communicates with ease, conversing in gestures and looks alone, even outwardly responding to his sibling’s internal thoughts. But, here, he needs three different attempts to fathom the death of his mother. And, in divulging this news, he discloses, “she is dead, Jewel. Addie Bundren is dead” (52). Not only does he say, “she is dead” twice, but he also addresses her with a pronoun or her full, legal name. He struggles to use an affectionate term, like mother, for he can’t fully process this loss, distancing his emotions as much as possible. In a similar way, during the river scene, Darl recounts the logs’ crash two separate times, reporting, “Cash looked back at me, and then I knew that we were gone. But I did not realize the reason for the rope until I saw the log. It surged up out of the water and…

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