As I Lay Dying Character — страница 2

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her family and she has no means of taking are of herself. Instead of using language to describe the world around her, she uses it to show how she feels on the inside. Language is a personal thing to Dewey Dell and though she does not possess Darl’s polished quality of speaking, she demonstrates its power as well as he does. Cash, like Darl, uses language as a means of gaining authority. He begins the novel as not having any control because Darl possessed the role of narrator. His first narration is in the form of a list. The second and third are not even complete thoughts because nobody takes him seriously. He has no power as a narrator; he is simply a character. It is not until Darl goes insane, losing his role. The weight of that role is then passed onto Cash who, in his last

two narrations, finally has the ability to tell things as he sees them. Language has importance to Cash in of itself. It gives him what he previously lacked – the simple right to express what he thinks. “Sometimes I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s like the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.” (233) Whereas language is a power to Darl, Dewey Dell, and Cash, it is a limitation to their mother. She feels that words made up to describe certain experiences are inadequate to the experiences themselves. She says that ?words dont

ever fit even what they are trying to say at? (171). Phrases like ? motherhood? and ?love? according to Addie, are completely separate from what they actually mean; they are simply tools. How could the balding man wearing glasses who spent hours staring at the alphabet to spell out the word ?pride? know that that’s what a mother would feel when she’s watching her child act out the lead part in the school play? And how could that brilliant young woman just out of college possibly understand the word ?death.? It has no meaning to her – it is only a term used to describe the transition from living to nonliving. Language is crucial to all of Addie’s children, except Jewel, to mark who they are but it is experience that matters to their mother. The power and limitation of

language can be used to explore different perspectives of the same events. Although Darl, Dewey Dell, Cash, and Addie all saw the same things, they each use different methods of expressing them to portray what is important. The funcion of language is different for each character but plays an equal part for each.