As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying 23. Darl Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Darl describes the experience of lifting Addie's coffin with Cash, Jewel and Anse. It is revealed that the family member who had cursed Cash (in the previous section) is Jewel, who refuses to listen to Cash's anxiety about the coffin being off balance. Jewel refuses to wait for any of the other family members, and ends up carrying the entire front end of the coffin by himself. Darl tries to tell Jewel to wait but he ignores Darl, too, and quickens his pace as the injured Cash limps slowly behind the group. Jewel continues to address the group, repeating the phrase, "Goddamn you. Goddamn you."
Jewel's fierce determination and disregard for others seems to be his unique ways of coping with loss. Jewel's drive to move the coffin single-handedly indicates the physicality of his reaction to being in a state of grief. Jewel also reveals an intense degree of impatience for his family members and an overt desire to be kept separate from them. Jewel's cursing at his siblings does not function as a mode of expression, but serves only to estrange him, further complicating the novel's representation of family.
Themes
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon