As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying 21. Darl Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Darl points out the thick cloud of buzzards flying overheard him and Jewel, as they make an unexpectedly delayed return home. He sarcastically reminds Jewel that it is not his horse that is dead. Jewel curses him. Darl thinks to himself that he can no longer love his mother because he has no mother. He then states: "Jewel's mother is a horse." Once again, Darl describes Jewel as "wooden-backed" and "wooden-faced" as they make their way into the Bundrens' barn.
Darl continues to aggravate the rivalry that exists between himself and Jewel, especially in the face of Addie's death. As he contemplates whether or not he can express love for Addie now that she is dead, he connects Jewel's love for Addie to Jewel's love for his horse. Jewel, unlike Darl, demonstrates his emotional investment by finding self-expression in the physical world rather than in his mind.
Themes
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon