Omniscent Narrating?

We read a lot in the criticisms for last class about Faulkner’s role and authorial voice in the novel and the lack of a unifying omniscient narrator. My question from last class pertained to the italicized pieces that occur mainly in Darl’s chapters, but in Varadaman’s as well. When I first began reading the novel, I thought these pieces suggested a stream of consciousness- a link directly into the thoughts of the chapter’s narrator, but on page 30, in Darl’s chapter, the last sentence of the italicized piece reads- “I am I and you are you and I know it and you don’t know it and you could do so much for me if you just would and if you just would then I could tell you and then nobody would have to know except you and me and Darl” It cuts back to the narration of Addie’s death before the sentence ends. Is this another Freudian psychoanalytic tool- suggesting that Darl’s identity is split, that he is a torn, tormented individual long before he finally ‘snaps’ and is committed to the asylum? If this is the case, then we would have to commit to the assumption that Darl was actually insane, rather than overcome with grief, or merely different from the dominant and only acceptable way of behavior in the South- sort of anachronistic in his family relationships. On the next italicized piece, Darl ends the chapter speaking to Jewel- “Jewel, I say, she is dead, Jewel. Addie Bundren is dead” (p. 31) Once again the italics are cut off without a period, suggesting that there is more to be said, that Darl’s thoughts are not fully complete. What do you all think is Faulkner’s intent in employing these pieces?

One Response to “Omniscent Narrating?”

  1. Richards says:

    Lindsay returns us to Sundquist’s essay, extends his formalist reading, and further destabilizes the narrations. Are they as disintegrated within themselves as when taken as a whole? That is, what do we make of the shifts within the prose, those marked by the italics and via other methods? I’ll add these to the question with which Lindsay ends.