Darl In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

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, …show more content…
When Darl is trying to tell Jewel about Addie’s death, he observes that “overhead the day drives level and gray, hiding the sun by a flight of gray spears. In the rain the mules smoke a little, splashed yellow with mud” (49). As Darl illustrates the world and people around him, this descriptions reflect his mindset, replicating his views and emotions to the outside community. Here, Darl, the novel’s most eloquent speaker, uses “gray” twice in one sentence to emphasize the melancholy feel of the line. Connecting with his first attempt to vocalize his mother’s recent death, this grim, gloomy depiction illustrates Darl’s inner sadness. Thus, Darl hides his grief in narration, mirroring his own feelings onto the recounted scene. Likewise, Darl describes what Dr. Peabody might say to Dewey Dell, if he saw her outward sorrow, “I would not let it grieve me, now. She was old, and sick too. Suffering more than we knew. She couldn 't have got well. Vardaman 's getting big now, and with you to take good care of them all. I would try not to let it grieve me” (51). Although this is directed at Dewey Dell, Darl never writes her name in this italicized conversation and there are no quotation marks, so it feels like Peabody could be addressing Darl or any other family member, as well as Dewey

Related Documents