As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying

Jewel is the bastard son of Addie and Whitfield, the local minister. Jewel is the novel’s most evasive character, as he appears consistently in other narrators’ chapters but only narrates one chapter himself. Jewel is often described by Darl as looking “wooden,” a description that captures his stubborn sense of independence and drive, separate from the rest of the Bundren clan.

Jewel Quotes in As I Lay Dying

The As I Lay Dying quotes below are all either spoken by Jewel or refer to Jewel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of As I Lay Dying published in 1991.
1. Darl Quotes

“Jewel, fifteen feet behind me, looking straight ahead, steps in a single stride through the window. Still staring straight ahead, his pale eyes like wood set into his wooden face, he crosses the floor in four strides with the rigid gravity of a cigar store Indian dressed in patched overalls and endued with life from the hips down, and steps in a single stride through the opposite window and into the path again just as I come around the corner.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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4. Jewel Quotes

“It would just be me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill, faces and teeth and all by God until she was quiet and not that goddamn adze going One lick less. One lick less and we could be quiet.”

Related Characters: Jewel (speaker), Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: The Coffin
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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12. Darl Quotes

“Jewel’s hat droops limp about his neck…Jewel, I say, she is dead, Jewel. Addie Bundren is dead.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Addie Bundren
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

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17. Darl Quotes

“In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you….I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or am not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

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21. Darl Quotes

“It’s not your horse that’s dead, Jewel…Jewel’s mother is a horse.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Jewel's Horse
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

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26. Anse Quotes

“I told him not to bring that horse out of respect for his dead ma, because it wouldn’t look right, him prancing along on a durn circus animal and her wanting us all to be in the wagon….”

Related Characters: Anse Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Jewel's Horse
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

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34. Darl Quotes

“Jewel shouts at the horse…He is just above the top of the ford and the horse has a purchase of some sort for it surges forward, shining wetly half out of water…Cash is half turned, the reins running taut from his hand and disappearing into the water, the other hand reached back upon Addie, holding her jammed over against the high side of the wagon.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Cash Bundren, Addie Bundren
Related Symbols: Jewel's Horse
Page Number: 148-149
Explanation and Analysis:

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50. Darl Quotes

“Then it topples forward, gaining momentum, revealing Jewel and the sparks raining on him too in engendering gusts, so that he appears to be closed in a thin nimbus of fire.”

Related Characters: Darl Bundren (speaker), Jewel
Related Symbols: The Coffin
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:

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59. Cash Quotes

“It’s Cash and Jewel and Vardaman and Dewey Dell…Meet Mrs. Bundren.”

Related Characters: Anse Bundren (speaker), Jewel, Cash Bundren, Dewey Dell Bundren, Vardaman Bundren
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:

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Jewel Character Timeline in As I Lay Dying

The timeline below shows where the character Jewel appears in As I Lay Dying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Darl and Jewel walk single-file on a large field, heading toward their home. On the way, they encounter... (full context)
3. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...on the Bundrens' back porch as Darl makes his return home. Anse asks Darl where Jewel is; before answering his father, Darl takes a drink and then thinks about the pleasure... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Darl tells Anse that Jewel is down in the barn, where he is attempting to mount his horse, which is... (full context)
4. Jewel
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Jewel angrily dwells on the question of why Cash feels the need to hammer and saw... (full context)
5. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Darl and Jewel prepare to run an errand for Vernon Tull. Anse cautions the boys against leaving, fearing... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Tull comforts Jewel and Darl by pointing out that Addie has seemed more like herself recently, though Jewel... (full context)
6. Cora
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...sweet disposition as she watches say goodbye to Addie. In particular, Cora contrasts Darl to Jewel, who she recalls was Addie's most "coddled" child. Yet Cora finds Jewel coldhearted, comparing him... (full context)
7. Dewey Dell
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...from Dewey Dell's perspective. Darl replies that Addie is going to die before he and Jewel return from their errand. (full context)
8. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Tull tells Anse not to worry about Jewel and Darl's trip and that they'll be back before long. Anse repeats that the family... (full context)
10. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
On their errand, Darl provokes Jewel by telling him that Addie is going to die. Jewel does not answer, and Darl... (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Darl then notices the sun begin to set "like a bloody egg," and aggressively taunts Jewel again, repeating the fact that Addie is going to die. (full context)
12. Darl
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Although Jewel and Darl are still on their errand for Tull, Darl is somehow able to describe... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Darl's thoughts then return to him and Jewel, still on their journey. Darl calls out to Jewel two times but is ignored by... (full context)
17. Darl
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Tull and Peabody immediately bring the coffin inside. Darl shifts his focus to his and Jewel's present situation and ponders the need to "empty yourself for sleep." He believes "when you... (full context)
21. Darl
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
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... (full context)
23. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
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... (full context)
24. Vardaman
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...behind the glass in the Jefferson toy store. As the family makes preparations to leave, Jewel heads to the barn, ignoring Anse's call for him to come back. Anse tells Jewel... (full context)
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Vardaman states once 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... (full context)
25. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
The 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... (full context)
26. Anse
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Anse gets worked up about Jewel's desire to bring his horse on the journey, thinking it shows disrespect for Addie. Anse... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...mother in her 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
Darl watches Jewel catch up with the family in his wagon, and notices Tull wave at the Bundrens... (full context)
31. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...Cash's meticulous look, as though Tull were the coffin Cash was trying to build carefully. Jewel does not move and looks with apparent anger at Tull, eventually berating him for following... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...them know that he will not allow his mule in the water to help them. Jewel curses the mule and Darl taunts Tull for his decision. Regardless, Tull repeats his statement... (full context)
32. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Darl focuses his gaze on Jewel, who is glaring with hostility at Tull. The scene sets Darl off into a memory... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
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One night, Darl hears Jewel get up and climb out of his window, only to be followed by Cash. The... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Addie is devastated that Jewel has kept this part of his life a secret, but Cash attempts to comfort her.... (full context)
34. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...Dewey Dell and Vardaman 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... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
When Jewel, Cash and Darl attempt to execute their plan, a large log rushes toward them with... (full context)
36. Tull
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...into the water. Tull blames Anse for the misfortune of the situation, and explains how Jewel tightly gripped the rope keeping the coffin and the wagon within reach. Cash, however, was... (full context)
37. Darl
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...rope to a nearby to hold as he looks for missing things in the water. Jewel dives right into the current to look for Cash's tools in particular. The family and... (full context)
39. Cora
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
...Addie Bundren was about notions of judgment and sin. Cora believes Addie's sin was loving Jewel more than Darl, and since Jewel didn't love her, Addie received due punishment for her... (full context)
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
One day when Cora told Addie that Jewel is her sin, Addie begins to answer affirmatively, but cuts herself off. Instead, Addie merely... (full context)
40. Addie
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...faith in religious principles in general. As a result of the affair, Addie has another child—Jewel—her only non-Bundren child. To make up for her sinful behavior, Addie (and Anse) have two... (full context)
42. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...repeatedly says that all of Armstid's favors are "for her [Addie's] sake." Darl notices that Jewel remains separate from the family while they eat in Armstid's home, and describes Jewel's rituals... (full context)
43. Armstid
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Jewel returns to Armstid's house with a horse-physician to help Cash with his injured leg. The... (full context)
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.... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
...of the fact that he got the family a new team of mules. He calls Jewel over, but Darl intervenes and asks Anse what he gave Snopes to get the mules.... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Jewel appears more dumbfounded then infuriated at this news, and decides to ride away on his... (full context)
46. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...the cement into his splints anyway. Cash responds by saying that the cement feels fine. Jewel, who still had been missing, returns to the family silently. No longer with a horse,... (full context)
47. Vardaman
Mortality and the Nature of Existence Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Vardaman, Darl, Jewel and Dewey Dell walk up the hill. Vardaman mentally narrates the situation in simple, declarative... (full context)
48. Darl
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...way to Jefferson, a farm owned by a man called Gillepsie. Upon arrival, Darl asks Jewel "Whose son are you? Your mother was a horse, but who was your father Jewel?"... (full context)
49. Vardaman
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
...outside on the porch, from which the barn is visible. Vardaman notices Gillepsie's son help Jewel, Darl and Anse move the coffin from below the apple tree outside indoors to the... (full context)
50. Darl
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Darl and Jewel sprint toward the barn. Darl describes the burning barn and notices the sense of urgency... (full context)
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Jewel, appearing furious and with "muscles ridged through his garment," enters the barn to save Gillepsie's... (full context)
51. Vardaman
Language versus Action Theme Icon
Anse breaks off Cash's cast and his leg begins to bleed. Darl then asks Jewel if his back hurts. At some point, Darl leaves and the family asks where he... (full context)
52. Darl
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...make their way into town, a bystander complains about the stench coming from their wagon. Jewel curses at the man, who then flashes a knife. Darl apologizes on his brother's behalf... (full context)
53. Cash
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
...believes humans are neither "pure crazy" nor "pure sane." Furthermore, Cash stresses his belief that Jewel is too hard on Darl. He reflects on the potential truth that God was simply... (full context)
59. Cash
Self-Interest Versus Heroic Duty Theme Icon
Family, Birth, and Death Theme Icon
Language versus Action Theme Icon
The Bundrens—minus Darl —return to the house from which they borrowed the spades. Jewel suggests that Vardaman go return them, but Anse insists that he do it, and ends... (full context)