Study Help Essay Questions

1. Why does Faulkner use so many individual narrators?

2. What is gained by using so many separate narrators?

3. Why are many scenes narrated by people outside the Bundren Family?

4. Why does Jewel narrate only one short section?

5. Why does Vardaman confuse his mother with a fish?

6. How is this pathetic confusion made comic later on?

7. Why does Addie’s section come in the middle of the journey after she has been dead for several days?

8. Addie maintains that words are useless. How is this concept supported by Anse and the preacher Whitfield?

9. Other than the fact that Cash is a good carpenter, why is he chosen to build the coffin?

10. Why is Darl used to narrate most of the sections, particularly the ones where some important event is occurring?

11. Why does Dewey Dell hate Darl so intensely?

12. What is the meaning of Darl’s taunt, “Jewel’s mother is a horse”?

13. Write an essay proving that Darl is sane.

14. Give as much support as possible to the proposition that seen against the Bundren world, Darl is insane.

15. Write an essay defining Addie’s relationship to her children.

16. Write an essay discussing how the comic aspects of the novel help modify the grotesque or horrible aspects of the journey.

17. Using this novel as your basis, distinguish between scenes that are comic and pathetic, or between the tragic and the grotesque. Cite as many specific examples as possible.

18. Explain the purpose of the outside narrator. Does this purpose remain the same throughout the novel?

19. Develop Darl’s relationship to Addie, to Anse, and to the other members of the family.

20. Write an essay showing Darl as the defeated idealist.