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The Burden Of As I Lay Dying

805 words - 4 pages

After reading As I Lay Dying, I was unsettled by something. It wasn't the plot, although As I Lay Dying had a singularly bizarre storyline. During the action of the novel a mother dies, and her family embarks upon a disastrous journey in order to fulfill her last wishes. The eldest son breaks his leg, the family has to sell or mortgage practically all it's worldly goods, and Jewel risks his life twice in order to get his mother's body to Jefferson, and not including the fact that there is next to no mourning following Addie's death, the most basic tribute a family can give, is only the tip of the iceberg of selfishness which seems to characterize the Bundren family.

The trip ...view middle of the document...

But Cora Tull cannot be trusted as a judge of relationships, as is evidenced by her misreading of the relationship between Addie and Reverend Whitfield. Darl was just as selfish as the rest of the Bundren family, but in a much more subtle and less materialistic way.

Darl seemed to be psychic through his knowledge of Dewey Dell's pregnancy, his mother's death and of Jewel's real father. Jewel is Addie's clear favorite, and Darl was intensely jealous. His jealousy could only have been further provoked by his knowledge of Jewel's illegitimacy. Throughout Darl's narration about Jewel, it is clear that he feels Jewel is superior to himself. In the opening paragraph of the novel Darl comments, Although I am fifteen feet ahead of him, anyone watching from the cotton house can see Jewels frayed and broken straw hat a full head above my own" (p. 3). People think Darl is strange and Jewel has the love and affection of Addie, which is the one thing that Darl seems to desire most. Darls jealousy of Jewels relationship with Addie leads him to taunt Jewel, asking him, "Jewel...whose son are you" and, "Your mother was a horse, but...

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