As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Online Book Summary
Vardaman’s section takes place while he, Dewey Dell, Jewel, and Darl are walking up the hill. He counts the buzzards again and now there are only five. He alludes again to the train in the store window in Jefferson that Dewey Dell has told him about. He asks Darl where the buzzards go when the wagon is in the barn at night, but Darl does not answer. Vardaman decides that tonight he will try to find where they go.
Since Vardaman alludes to the train again without ever having seen it, we can infer that the train has become the goal of the trip. The purpose cannot be to bury Addie because she swam away when the coffin was in the water. The train is the what he has focused on.
Vardaman’s other focus is the group of buzzards that follow them. While Vardaman probably knows that buzzards look for carrion, he may not know that the carrion that they are following is Addie and Cash.
Darl says to Jewel, "Your mother was a horse, but who was your father?" Jewel’s response indicates that he suspects or fears something too: "You goddamn lying son of a bitch."
The scene shifts to Cash whose leg looks even worse and infected, yet Cash still tries to play the long-suffering hero.
We don’t know how much Darl knows, how he knows it, or if he just suspects something, but his question and his earlier comment about Addie’s deceit suggest that he observes people well.
Jewel’s response that Darl is "lying" indicate either that he has heard these rumors before or that he suspects something. Otherwise, the question would be rhetorical or a joke, not an offense.
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TheBestNotes Staff. "TheBestNotes on As I Lay Dying".
. 09 May 2017