Essay on I Lay Dying The Story Of The Bundren Family

Essay on I Lay Dying The Story Of The Bundren Family

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In Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying the story of the Bundren family’s struggle to bury their mother is told. Her death begins this tragic journey as the family makes their way to Jefferson. Darl Bundren, one of her children, attempts to care for the family and just wants to assuage their suffering but despite his altruistic intentions he is pushed away by his family. This makes Darl the tragic hero because he is sent away albeit for a good reason. His hamartia which may be his caring is what led to his downfall. It can be interpreted instead that Darl was descending into insanity because he laughs when his mother dies and he sees things even when he is not there. He also fits the characteristics of a tragic hero because he is anomalous from the others in many ways; he is the most common narrator in the story, Cora says that “he was the only one of them that had his mother’s nature, had any natural affection (21),” and he can see things even when he is not there, for instance, Darl saw “Pa stands beside the bed. From behind his leg Vardaman peers, with his round head and his eyes round and his mouth beginning to open. She looks at pa (47)” even though he was not there.
The barn Darl burned down is connected to his archetype because the barn was an important part of a southern lifestyle so burning it down is significant. Darl may have burned it down to end the physical existence of his mother and his family’s suffering because her coffin was in the barn. In the chapter before Darl burns the barn down Vardaman asked him what Addie was saying from inside the coffin and Darl told him that “She wants him to hide her way from the sight of man (215).” He believed that his mother wanted him to do it so he did. Another reason he may have burned ...

... middle of paper ... his way of coping with the death of his mother and it is his way of making it up to her. The tools are an extension of his archetype because Christ was a carpenter and the tools show how he is a carpenter too. The tools are also vital parts of the entire family because when they go missing everyone even the Tulls help them look. Despite this Anse sells the tools along with Jewels horse and takes Dewey Dells money in order to buy teeth and buy equipment for a new team. The tools being sold show how the things the family needs to survive are being taken away. Cash’s sacrifice to the family may not have just been his leg but also his tools which can be a metaphor for fixing the family. He can no longer fix anything and his sacrifice was for nothing because it really all went to his father getting new teeth and getting espoused to the woman who loaned him the shovels.

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