Character Analysis Of The Bundren Family In 'As I Lay Dying'

1030 Words5 Pages

Sasha Stephens
English Mrs.o

The Bundren family is full with many personalities similar to most families. As I Lay Dying is the story of the Bundrens, a poor, Southern, agrarian family. The “dying” in the title refers to Addie, the matron of the family. The book opens with her vigil and ends just after her interment in the ground. Her husband and five children undertake an arduous trek from their hilltop farm to a burial plot in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi. Their trek becomes an odyssey as they must overcome overwhelming natural forces and the judgment of peers and strangers alike.Although, there is one character who is the most prominent of all. Darl seems to be the most level headed and intelligent …show more content…

Once his mother passes away, the family takes a trip to bury her in a cemetery about forty miles away from their house. The oppressive heat takes a toll on the family considering they have a corpse in their possession and dead things tend to smell repulsive after being out in the sun for an extensive amount of time. Darl being his nearly insane self burns down a barn that has his mother’s body inside of it. When Darl commits such an act he seems to be unaffected when everything burns down, but when jewel saves the coffin he does start to cry. Significantly, the breakdown occurs after Darl learns he will be committed to an asylum. His complete mental breakdown is not the cause for his interment; the only justifiable cause is his crime, which is destruction of property. When his family has him committed as a patient rather than as a criminal, they rob him of recognition that he is capable of rational, premeditated …show more content…

Her illness and absence do not absolve Addie of her past abuses, but readers have more insight into Anse because his children and neighbors have similar observations. Anse manages either directly or indirectly to exacerbate the suffering through indecision, inaction, and his outright claims that the children owe him fealty in the form of labor, property, or money. Darl has a unique background and perspective. Darl describes Jewel and his horse as a piece of art: “Moving that quick his coat, bunching, tongues swirling like so many flames. With tossing mane and tail and rolling eye the horse makes another short curvetting rush and stops again [. . .]. Save for Jewel’s legs they are like two figures carved for a tableau savage in the sun” (12). The artistic comparisons continue throughout the chapters; from afar, Darl describes what Cash sees as he works on the coffin and looks into Addie’s window: “It is a composite picture of all time since he was a child” (48). Vardaman becomes a poster as he reacts to Addie’s death: “He begins to move slowly backward from the bed, his eyes round, his pale face fading into the dusk like a piece of paper pasted on a failing wall, and so out the door” (49). Darl describes Addie’s recently dead face: “It is like a casting of fading bronze” (51). Anse is not permitted such a

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