Darl is my favorite character in As I Lay Dying. Maybe I identify with him. If it is, it might be only because I love the way he speaks.
Faulkner struck me first with this:
The sun, an hour above the horizon, is poised like a bloody egg upon a crest of thunderheads; the light has turned copper: in the eye portentous, in the nose sulphurous, smelling of lightning. When Peabody comes, they will have to use the rope. He has pussel-gutted himself eating cold greens. With the rope they will haul him up the path, balloon-like up the sulphurous air.
“Jewel,” I say, “do you know that Addie Bundren is going to die? Addie Bundren is going to die?”
The book works like a Beckett play. So much stubbornness. So much idiocy. I use idiocy in its Greek sense, one consumed with their own affairs. So much futility. Each character building the story of Addie Bundren’s death and journey to burial. Anse’s bizarre theology and intent, a human mule. Vardaman’s childmind in a man’s body (“My mother is a fish.”). Cora’s power over Tull. Tull, whose Cora would require a tight house to hold her…
to hold Cora like a jar of milk in the spring: you’ve got to have a tight jar or you’ll need a powerful spring, so if you have a big spring, why then you have the incentive to have tight, wellmade jars, because it is your milk, sour or not, because you would rather have milk that will sour than to have milk that won’t, because you are a man.
Faulkner’s tragic family. The bridge is out. My mother is a fish.