As I Lay Dying

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Jewel's Horse Symbol Analysis

Jewel's Horse Symbol Icon
Jewel's relationship with his horse symbolizes his willful decision to separate himself from the rest of the Bundren family. Of course, Jewel is not biologically a Bundren child; however, he deliberately emphasizes his desire to detach from the family through cultivating such a strong relationship with the horse. In order to buy the horse initially, Jewel had to work every night, lying to his family with the exception of Addie, who favored Jewel and forced her other children to take over his chores. Darl even remarks sardonically that Jewel's mother is a horse. On the journey to Jefferson itself, Jewel rides ahead on his horse, symbolizing his desire for independence from the Bundren clan. When Anse ultimately trades Jewel's horse in for a new team of mules, it is as though he is trying to strip Jewel of his independence and make him feel a sense of duty to the family.
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Jewel's Horse Symbol Timeline in As I Lay Dying

The timeline below shows where the symbol Jewel's Horse appears in As I Lay Dying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
3. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Anse that Jewel is down in the barn, where he is attempting to mount his horse, which is behaving aggressively and resisting Jewel's command. Jewel finally mounts the horse and rides... (full context)
21. Darl
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
24. Vardaman
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...again that his mother is a fish, though Darl claims that Jewel's mother is a horse. Vardaman confusedly reasons that if Jewel is his brother, and Jewel's mother is a horse,... (full context)
25. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...family gathers in the wagon and Anse laments Jewel's inconsiderate behavior—specifically his obsession with his horse and the related face that he is not coming with them in the wagon to... (full context)
26. Anse
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...coffin laying at his feet. The wagon passes Tull's lane just as Jewel and his horse catch up with the family's wagon. Darl continues to laugh. (full context)
27. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
32. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...private. One morning in November, five months later, Jewel returns home one day on a horse. When Anse asks where he got the horse, Jewel replies that he bought it from... (full context)
34. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...crossed, Darl and Cash proceed with the wagon to the ford. Jewel remains on his horse, following Darl and Cash at the wagon's rear wheel. The brothers spot the rest of... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...up crashing into the wagon, but Cash holds onto the coffin. Jewel shouts at his horse, as the other family members rush along the riverbank. Because of the strong surge of... (full context)
42. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...about his health, but Cash merely mutters about his tools. Jewel rides ahead on his horse to Armstid's home and comes back to the Bundrens with Armstid's team of mules that... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...while they eat in Armstid's home, and describes Jewel's rituals of taking care of the horse. (full context)
43. Armstid
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Anse leaves Armstid's house the next morning with Jewel's horse, riding off to inquire Snopes about opportunities for buying a team of mules nearby. Back... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...buy himself a graphophone, explains Darl), some money from his teeth fund, and, finally, Jewel's horse. (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...appears more dumbfounded then infuriated at this news, and decides to ride away on his horse, making it so that the mule deal would not ultimately pan out. Though the next... (full context)
46. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Jewel, who still had been missing, returns to the family silently. No longer with a horse, Jewel boards the wagon. Anse points out the upcoming hill and tells his children to... (full context)
47. Vardaman
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...the situation in simple, declarative sentences: "Jewel came back"¦He was walking. Jewel hasn't got a horse anymore. Jewel is my brother. Cash is my brother. Cash has a broken leg." Vardaman... (full context)
48. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...called Gillepsie. Upon arrival, Darl asks Jewel "Whose son are you? Your mother was a horse, but who was your father Jewel?" Jewel becomes angry and repeats again and again that... (full context)