The Sane Mind of Darl Bundren

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In Willam Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying the Bundren family has unique and memorable characters, but the most complex of these characters is Darl. An articulate and loving young man, his emotions and sanity are tested by the death of his mother and the plight of his family's burial journey. Unwanted by his mother, Darl showed signs throughout the novel of an ego at odds with itself; lacking a definitive way of identifying himself. He demonstrated this in his narratives by having detailed descriptions of events but rarely did he reveal any emotional attachment to his subjects. His awareness leads him to do some things that make him appear to the rest of his family, who already thought he was strange, as insane. But to himself, Darl believes he is doing the sanest thing he could do to end this burial journey. One may believe that Darl is crazy, but another may believe that Darl is sane. There is proof in both these views, but it is up to the reader’s discretion to decide which one is right. In order to understand the mind of Darl, the reader must also understand Darl’s place in the Bundren family. A majority of Darl’s family doesn’t like him, even before the death of Addie and the journey to Jefferson. Addie herself hates Darl’s very existence. She thinks of Darl as Anse’s child and not hers, “And now he has three children that are his and not mine” (102). Darl is also brings humiliation for Anse because other townsfolk are always talking about Darl and how strange he is. His parents aren’t the only ones who have a troubled relationship with Darl. Jewel absolutely hates his brother Darl. Darl frequently torments his younger brother giving reason for Jewel to shun Darl. Dewey Dell hates Darl because she can’t keep any secrets from him, because he can look at her and know what she’s hiding. The rest of the family knows that Darl is different from them

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