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As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying


by William Faulkner


Character Role Analysis

Maybe Darl, Maybe Cash - Honestly, Who Knows?

Because Darl is the first voice we hear, we’re inclined to think of him as our primary narrator and main character right off the bat. He also narrates more sections of the novel than anyone else, and he has weird magical powers of narration, like witnessing events for which he is not present. But as Darl starts to go mad, we start to lose faith in him as a trustworthy narrator and look to someone else to do the job. In steps Cash. By the last few narrative sections in the novel, Cash has established himself as a reliable and sensible voice, a welcome refuge for the reader given the strange, disjointed words of Vardaman and the maniacal ranting of the now-insane Darl. Much of the novel’s denouement – the explanation stage of the story – unfolds during Cash’s narration. Cash then becomes the character with whom we identify, just as Darl becomes someone foreign from the reader’s own experiences and sympathies.