As I Lay Dying

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As I Lay Dying 27. Darl Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Darl watches Jewel catch up with the family in his wagon, and notices Tull wave at the Bundrens from his lot as they pass. Cash remarks off-hand that Addie's dead body will begin to smell in the following days, and Darl suggests that Cash tell Jewel. Cash laments once again that the coffin is not balanced, and Darl again suggests that Cash tell Jewel all of these unfortunate details. Jewel swiftly passes the wagon on his horse, which kicks up a burst of mud onto Addie's coffin. Cash uses his tools to remove the dirt carefully.
This scene encapsulates much of the tensions that pervade the family's journey to Jefferson: Darl makes observations about his family members and feels particular antipathy toward Jewel, Cash does not express himself but rather spends his energy trying to fix things in order to maintain a sense of order for the family, and Jewel keeps to himself. Each of the Bundrens has a unique approach to the journey, with individual motivations and an idiosyncratic vision of family.
Themes
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon