Aim: How does Darl contemplate his mother death and his own existence? Do Now: Explain p. 84.
Vardaman’sConfusion • Bored Holes • Why does Vardaman bore holes into Addie’s coffin? • What does Vardaman’s young mind not fully understand? • “My mother is a fish.” • How does Vardaman connect his mother to the fish? • Vardaman sees the fish as a displacement of his mother. • The fish’s transformative process links to the transformation Addie goes through from being alive to not alive. • Although Vardaman can begin to understand that Addie is no longer “alive,” he still does not fully understand the essence of death. He is too immature for this. • He understands what something is not, but not what something is! This is the simplistic way we figure out the world at the beginning – through differentiation.
Death as Transformative – The World According to Vardaman Death Differentiation: Vardaman realizes what the fish and Addie are not, but he fails to identity death for what it is.
Faulkner’s Language Words are nothing without meaning. What good are well crafted sentences if they are not expressing a truth? What if words were filled with truth and structure became secondary? Faulkner’s words gain meaning only when the reader gains insight into the truth the characters are delivering. Remember when we talked about madness? Madness can be arbitrary? Well, what about words? Can words be arbitrary?
Displaced Mourning Addie’s children displace their grief over their mother onto other objects or distractions. These are their coping mechanisms.
Darl’s Questions of Existence Sleep = is not = not conscious, aware of existence Awake = is = conscious, aware of existence “In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you? And when you are filled with sleep, you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, because he does not know that he does not know whether he is or not. He cannot empty himself for sleep because he is not what he is and he is what he is not…And since sleep is is-not and rain and wind are was, it is not. Yet the wagon is, because when the wagon is was, Addie Bundren will not be. And Jewel is, so Addie Bundren must be. And then I must be, or I could not empty myself for sleep in a strange room. And so if I am not emptied yet, I am is.”
Vardaman vs. Darl • What is Darl asking? • How do you know you’re alive? • What is the difference between life and death? • Even if you realize you’re alive, or how life and death work, who are you in that life? • Darl uses a rhetorical style similar to Vardaman’s. • However, Darl is older and more complex. He is able to contemplate issues of existence that are more sophisticated.