Character Analysis Of Darl Bundren In As I Lay Dying

1684 Words7 Pages
In Sanity
Insanity takes on different forms. Some harm themselves or are a danger to others. Darl Bundren, however, is declared insane because he thinks differently from his family. Darl serves as the primary narrator in William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, a story of one dysfunctional family’s journey through the Mississippi countryside to the town of Jefferson to bury their matriarch. With the greatest number of monologues, Darl acts as a surrogate for Faulkner. His intuitive ability to penetrate the minds of others and see through their facades enables him to provide the most objective, however blunt, commentary. His sanity becomes questioned more as the novel progresses, but he still labors as a reliable narrator in how he forces his family members to see real situations.
Darl’s
…show more content…
As Darl rides on the train to Jackson, he only responds to the inquiries of the mental institution workers by rambling, “Yes yes yes yes yes” (Faulkner 253). In this narration, he has become an onlooker and no longer actively contributes to the development of plot. His responses to people on the train demonstrates his inability to deal with his failure to stop his family’s journey, and his laughter is a coping mechanism to deal with the disenchantment he has with his family. Cash chooses not to help him, and his family proves to be unaware of the fraudulency they epitomize. He manifests his trauma by speaking in the third person, repeating, “Darl is our brother, our brother Darl” (Faulkner 254). His strength as a reliable narrator in his earlier monologues of the novel stems from his capacity to separate himself from those whom he speaks about. As he mulls over his betrayal, he loses his identity. Once an intelligent, articulate man, Darl has now become traumatized. Darl is fortuitous to leave his past with the Bundren family behind, even if leaving the family means entering a mental
Open Document