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Jewel Bundren’s Character Analysis in As I Lay Dying


William Faulkner uses numerous narrators in As I Lay Dying, a strategy that allows him to illustrate different state of minds on events and ethical questions. Some narrators’ inspirations are clear: Dewey Dell is identified to get an abortion, for example, and Vardaman longs for a toy train and bananas. Jewel is more difficult to comprehend, and is the only member of the Bundren family who provides no personal narration following Addie’s death. Since the reader can only understand Jewel through the accounts of others, she may be particularly confused regarding why Gem would help Anse, a male to whom he has neither biological nor affable ties, by giving up the horse that has actually long been his only outlet for expressions of love. The explanation is that Jewel recognizes he needs to jeopardize his principles to achieve anything, which he becomes increasingly going to question his immediate reaction to situations.

In order to comprehend Jewel’s final decision to assist Anse, one must analyze the relationship in between Jewel and both his mother and horse. The filial relationship between Gem and Addie is special both mentally and genetically. While Cash, Darl, Vardaman, and Dewey Dell are all the kids of Anse and Addie, Jewel is the kid arising from the affair between Addie and Dad Whitfield. As such, Addie prefers Gem over all the other kids. Addie even admits to Cora that Gem “is [her] cross and he will be [her] redemption. He will conserve [her] from the water and from the fire” (168 ). On the other hand, Addie’s opinion towards Cash and the rest of her kids is made evident in Addie’s own narration when Addie claims, “And when I understood that I had Money, I knew that living was horrible which this was the response to it” (171 ). Addie thought about having children with Anse both penalty and preparation for death as opposed to something from which to derive satisfaction and love. Nevertheless, as a mother, Addie knew that she needed to treat all of her kids similarly, and hated herself and Gem in such a way for forcing her to trick the others into thinking she loved them all similarly when love was a word she could not even understand. In this sense, Addie “whipped” Jewel more, disciplining him to offset her overly-expressed love towards him. Since Jewel’s only source of love was that disguised by Addie’s anger, Jewel has actually also learned to like in such a way. To his horse, Jewel’s “tough-love” is reciprocal of his mother’s “teachings.” Jewel’s treatment of the animal that he bought with his own money with curses and presses mixed with spoils and treats is Jewel’s highest kind of expressing love.

Gem’s love for his mother is obvious in his sole narration “dedicated” to Addie. Although Jewel’s hostile predisposition is completely on the surface, his underlying intentions of wanting the best for his mother are obvious. Jewel goes as far as to wish that “it would simply be [him] and her on a high hill and [him] rolling the rocks down the hill at [everybody’s] faces, selecting them up and tossing them down the hill deals with and teeth and all by God” in reaction to the continuous attention by all that Addie is receiving on her deathbed. Furthermore, Gem, other than for “crazy” Darl, is the just one of the Bundren household that goes to Jefferson in order to bury his mom without any selfish side-intentions. Gem’s love for his mom can not be explicitly stated, for, like his mom declared, the word love is only used by those who have never ever felt it. However, he would do nearly anything for her; Jewel would even break into a burning barn to rescue her coffin. While Gem’s hostility towards anybody develops unpredictability about his character, he unquestionably lives by one guiding concept: to do whatever it takes to please his mom.

Nevertheless, when Anse asks Jewel to quit the horse in order to purchase another group to continue on the way to Jefferson to bury Addie, Gem should then choose between the 2 enjoys of his life: his horse and his mom. For Gem to choose the horse, his mom would have to be buried near Armstid’s house, disregarding her last desire. If Jewel selects his mom, she could make it to Jefferson, however he would lose the living animal for which he had actually cared so deeply. Contrary to Armstid’s belief, Jewel does not choose to assist Anse since Anse simply has “something” about him that makes any man wish to assist him. Gem does not help Anse for Anse’s sake; he merely recognizes that the love for his mother, without which he would never have actually lived to be able to have a horse to enjoy so, is more crucial than his love for his horse. The whole journey to Jefferson would have been meaningless if he refused to relinquish his horse, a disrespect Jewel does not want to give his mother.

Despite his instant response to flee to avoid quiting his horse, Gem discovers a brand-new lesson in giving the horse to Snopes: to consider all the effects of his actions before they are made. He realizes that his natural inclination to run away opposed his general desire to do the very best for his mother. At the same time, his need to put the casket in the wagon without a balance caused its falling in the river, a complete disrespect of his mother. Therefore he begins to question all his responses to scenarios. This lesson is exemplified by Jewel reassessing his anger toward the male whom he thought talked about his mom’s smell in Jefferson. Instead of punching the man as he normally would, Jewel reaches to apologize for his outburst. With the 2 he held most dear gone, Gem realizes that his hostility has not gotten him anything, although the losses themselves may not necessarily have actually been preventable. As such, quiting his horse is maybe the start of a brand-new outlook on life for Gem, one in which he attempts to act in a loving way. Although Gem can not yet stop this aggressiveness, he has actually undoubtedly started an internal dispute in which he need to recover from the loss of his two loves and find out a brand-new method to live.

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