As I Lay Dying Seminars
In William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying, the youngest character, Vardaman, has a chapter where he says “My mother is a fish” (84). He is going through some psychological drama due to the death of his mother. He is trying to make logic of the situation. He compares his mom to the fish he caught. The fish was once a fish, alive and well, until it was caught, and Vardaman cut it up. The fish was a fish at first, but after it deceased, it wasn’t a fish anymore. He is basically saying that his mother was his mother, until she died, and now she wasn’t anymore. Vardaman didn’t exactly understand the death of his mother, so in his eyes, comparing her to a fish, was the best thing he could do.
Although Vardaman is a child, I believe that this isn’t a good start for his life. He is always going to have psychological trauma because of his mother’s death. He may not ever recover from this. This situation may have changed his whole perspective on life. For example, after his mother’s death, Vardaman beats Peabody’s horses. He says that he “can hear the stick striking; I can see it hitting their heads, the breast-yoke, missing altogether sometimes as they rear and plunge, but I am glad…. You kilt my maw!” (54). He is obviously really upset, and her death is affecting him. He chooses to act out in a highly violent and negative way, and blame her death on horses. I’m predicting that he may have a hard time through his life, since the readers are seeing the beginning of his negative reactions to things. He may have some mental damage, that may be hard to recover from.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York City: Vin...
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... other children in the family. He is just mad that Jewel got most of the attention that he felt that he deserved. Darl feels like he got cheated. Darl resents his mother for not loving him as much as Jewel. All he wanted was acceptance and love, which he never got. It may have even driven him crazy. Jewel doesn’t show outward emotions, like Darl, so he may have even thought that Jewel didn’t appreciate the love his mother gave him. It probably made him even more upset that he probably didn’t show her affection back. In one chapter, he even states that he doesn’t have a mom; he says “I haven’t got ere one… Because if I had one, it is was. And if it was was, it can’t be is” (101). Darl’s relationship to Dewey Dale is also very awkward. Neither of them really talk about their feelings toward one another, although Darl is the only one who knows Dewey Dale is pregnant.
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