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Jewel Bundren’s Character Analysis in As I Lay Dying


William Faulkner utilizes several narrators in As I Lay Dying, a strategy that enables him to show different mindsets on occasions and ethical questions. Some storytellers’ motivations are clear: Dewey Dell is determined to get an abortion, for instance, and Vardaman wish for a toy train and bananas. Gem is more difficult to understand, and is the only member of the Bundren household who offers no personal narration following Addie’s death. Due to the fact that the reader can only understand Gem through the accounts of others, she may be especially confused regarding why Gem would help Anse, a man to whom he has neither biological nor affable ties, by quiting the horse that has long been his only outlet for expressions of love. The description is that Jewel understands he must jeopardize his concepts to accomplish anything, which he ends up being significantly ready to question his immediate reaction to circumstances.

In order to understand Gem’s final decision to help Anse, one should take a look at the relationship in between Gem and both his mother and horse. The filial relationship between Gem and Addie is unique both emotionally and genetically. While Money, Darl, Vardaman, and Dewey Dell are all the children of Anse and Addie, Jewel is the child arising from the affair between Addie and Father Whitfield. As such, Addie favors Jewel over all the other children. Addie even admits to Cora that Jewel “is [her] cross and he will be [her] salvation. He will save [her] from the water and from the fire” (168 ). On the other hand, Addie’s opinion towards Cash and the rest of her children is made evident in Addie’s own narration when Addie claims, “And when I knew that I had Money, I knew that living was awful and that this was the response to it” (171 ). Addie considered having kids with Anse both penalty and preparation for death rather than something from which to derive satisfaction and love. However, as a mom, Addie understood that she had to treat all of her children equally, and hated herself and Jewel in a manner for forcing her to trick the others into thinking she liked them all similarly when love was a word she could not even comprehend. In this sense, Addie “whipped” Gem more, disciplining him to make up for her overly-expressed love towards him. Because Jewel’s only source of love was that disguised by Addie’s anger, Jewel has also found out to love in such a method. To his horse, Jewel’s “tough-love” is mutual of his mom’s “mentors.” Jewel’s treatment of the animal that he bought with his own cash with curses and presses combined with spoils and treats is Gem’s highest type of expressing love.

Jewel’s love for his mother is apparent in his sole narration “devoted” to Addie. Although Gem’s hostile proclivity is completely on the surface area, his underlying intents of desiring the very best for his mother are obvious. Jewel goes as far as to wish that “it would just 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 response to the continuous attention by all that Addie is receiving on her deathbed. In addition, Jewel, except for “crazy” Darl, is the just one of the Bundren family that goes to Jefferson in order to bury his mother without any selfish side-intentions. Jewel’s love for his mom can not be clearly stated, for, like his mother declared, the word love is only used by those who have actually never ever felt it. However, he would do almost anything for her; Jewel would even break into a burning barn to save her coffin. While Gem’s hostility toward anybody develops unpredictability about his character, he undoubtedly lives by one directing concept: to do whatever it takes to please his mother.

However, when Anse asks Gem to quit the horse in order to buy another group to advance the way to Jefferson to bury Addie, Gem must then choose between the two loves of his life: his horse and his mother. For Jewel to pick the horse, his mom would have to be buried near Armstid’s home, disregarding her last dream. If Jewel picks his mother, she could make it to Jefferson, but he would lose the living animal for which he had cared so deeply. Contrary to Armstid’s belief, Jewel does pass by to assist Anse due to the fact that Anse just has “something” about him that makes any man want to assist him. Jewel does not help Anse for Anse’s sake; he simply understands that the love for his mom, without which he would never ever have actually lived to be able to have a horse to like so, is more important than his love for his horse. The entire journey to Jefferson would have been meaningless if he refused to relinquish his horse, a disrespect Gem does not want to offer his mother.

Despite his instant reaction to flee to avoid quiting his horse, Gem discovers a brand-new lesson in providing the horse to Snopes: to think about all the consequences of his actions prior to they are made. He understands that his natural disposition to escape opposed his general desire to do the very best for his mother. At the exact same time, his need to put the coffin in the wagon without a balance resulted in its falling in the river, a total disrespect of his mother. Therefore he starts to question all his responses to circumstances. This lesson is exhibited by Jewel reconsidering his anger toward the male whom he thought talked about his mother’s odor in Jefferson. Instead of punching the guy as he normally would, Jewel reaches to apologize for his outburst. With the 2 he held most dear gone, Jewel realizes that his hostility has not gained him anything, although the losses themselves might not always have been preventable. As such, giving up his horse is maybe the beginning of a new outlook on life for Gem, one in which he tries to act in a loving way. Although Jewel can not yet stop this aggression, he has certainly begun an internal conflict in which he should recover from the loss of his 2 enjoys and find out a new method to live.

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