Identity Crisis In the story As I Lay Dying, Faulkner introduces us to the Bundren family, a family of poor white farmers living in southern Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner takes us on a journey to Jefferson were they are to fulfill there dead mother Addie s wishes to be buried where her people were from, when she died. In the story Faulkner explores the mother relationship and how it can affect a child s life long identity. Darl and Jewel are both sons of Addie whom we later find to have opposing identities brought about from their relationship with their mother. Darl was Addie s second son. In the story he was the most prolific voice in the novel and seemed to posses a gift of clairvoyance, which allowed him to narrate. Rejected by his mother, Darl exhibited signs throught the novel of an ego at odds with itself and lacked a definite way of identifying himself (Cape and Smith). This rejection had a profound effect on the development of Darl s identity. In his narratives Darl gave detailed descriptions of events, for instance, the scene of Addie s death, even though he and Jewel were away getting a load of lumber at the time of her death. Similarly he knew Dewey Dell was pregnant because he had seen her with Lafe, and knew that Jewel was the illegitimate son, but rarely did he reveal any emotional attachment to his subjects (Cape and Smith). This feeling of isolation is a result of the rejection he received growing up. People saw Darl as strange. They called him queer, lazy, pottering about the place no better then his father Anse (Cape and Smith). During their journey, Darl showed the least amount of motivation to bury his mother. Darl's lack of motivation results from the lack of love and attention he had received from Addie. During their journey, trouble came when trying to cross the Yoknapatawpha River. When crossing, the coffin falls off the wagon into the river waters. Darl was useless during its recovery. Towards the end of their journey the Bundrens stay at Gillespie s place. Darl eager to end the treacherous journey decides to catch fire to the barn where Addie s coffin laid. His intention for this action was to enable his family to get on with their lives, but rather he gets caught and committed to a mental asylum in Jackson. After Darl caught fire to the barn Jewel was the one who saved the coffin from the fire. Jewel was Addie s third son. Addie's thoughts towards society and its standards led her to have an affair on her husband Anse with Rev Whitefield. Jewel was the result of this affair and known to be Addie s favorite son. Darl was the only one that knew Jewel was the illegitimate son, he would aggravate him and say Who was your father, Jewel (Faulkner 212). Jewel exhibited a sense of selfishness in his attitude toward Addie and his siblings as he said If it had just been me when Cash fell of that church and if it had just been me when pa laid sick with that load of wood fell on him, it would not be happening with every bastard in the county coming in to stare at her because if there is a God then what the hell is he for. It would just be me and her on high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill faces and teeth and all by God until she was quiet (Cape and Smith). This quote is a reflection of Jewels thought towards his family. Jewel, the most motivated to bury his mother, became angered by his unmotivated family. Throughout the novel, Jewel shows much aggravation during the trip. One example of this aggravation occurred when Jewel started a fight on the road into Jefferson when passing travelers commented on the smell of Adie s decomposing body. Unlike Darl, Jewel expresses the most motivation to bury his mother. Jewel was a fiercely independent person and worked nights for Mr. Quick in order to buy a horse. When their mule team was drowned trying to cross the flooded Yoknapatawpha River, Jewel agreed to sell his horse for a new team of mules (Cape and Smith). This gesture is proof of Jewels love for his mother and her wishes. He was a big help in saving the coffin from floodwaters as well as from the burning barn. When Daryl s part in the fire is discovered Jewel gets a chance to release some of his anger towards Darl by helping commit him to the mental asylum in Jackson (Cape and Smith). This anger is a result of the taunts and jealousy Darl displayed towards Jewel. The attitudes of Darl and Jewel during the journey to Jefferson are a clear reflection of there relationship with their mother. Darl, the one who is thought to be strange and committed to a mental asylum shows through his narratives to posses the most common sense and sanity of his family. His lack of motivation and attempt to burn Addie s coffin were reflections of his mother s lack of attention towards him, because there relationship was weak and he didn t really care about Addie s wishes. Jewel on the other hand shared a close relationship with Addie, which explains his positive motivation during the trip. One similarity between Darl and Jewel was they both, out of the family, did not have ulterior motives for wanting to go on the long journey to Jefferson. Faulkner s exploration of the mother relationship and its effect on a child s life long identity is clearly shown by these two characters.