A character anaylsis by Luke and André

"Pa stands beside the bed. From behind his leg Vardaman peers with his round head and his eyes round and his mouth beginning to open." (pg. 47)

Vardaman's age is hard to pin down. He often acts childish such as during the whole fish debacle, but it would be illogical for Vardaman to be much younger than Dewey Dell since "I [Addie] gave Anse Dewey Dell to negative Jewel. Then I gave him Vardaman to replace the child I had robbed him of" (pg. 176). We know that Vardaman was born not too long after Dewey Dell but we also know he is small and mentally immature (especially with the concept of death) since "He [Vardaman] is carrying a fish nigh long as he is" (pg. 30). So pretty much Vardaman's age is a plot hole which may have happened because Faulkner wrote as "I Lay Dying" between midnight and 4 AM in six weeks and did not change a word of it. Okay.


Relationships with other's

Tull seems to think that Vardaman acts above his age when he catches the fish/not-fish "He slings it to the ground and grunts 'hah' and spits over his shoulder like a man . . . Vardaman cusses it. He cusses it like a grown man, standing a-straddle of it" (pg. 31).

He also seems to be somewhat close to Dewey Dell since she trusts him when he sees 'something' "When I went to find where they stay at night, I saw something that Dewey Dell says I mustn't tell nobody" (pg. 225)

My mother is a fish


Vardaman doesn't really make very many choices since he is so young, he mostly just follows the Bundren gang where ever they go. His main choices are to follow Dewey Dell when she goes to get an "abortion" and when he doesn't tell anybody that Darl burned down the barn "The barn was still red, but it wasn't a barn now" (pg. 223).


Vardaman's goals and motivation are in general very simple and are pretty much the same, his motivation is to complete his goals. He pretty much wants his mom to be properly disposed of, and he also wants a train and bananas. "'Hadn't you rather have bananas? Hadn't you rather?' 'All right'" (pg. 252). "The track went shining around the window, it red on the track. But she said he would not sell it to the town boys." (pg. 249)

Contrast between inner and outer life

In Vardaman's inner monologue, he seems almost to be an aspiring psychologist, talking about things being and not being, which most often come up when he talks about his fish becoming not fish. "It is cut up into pieces of not-fish now, not-blood on my hands and overalls" (pg. 53) "the barn was still red, but it wasn't a barn now" (pg. 223) "my mother is a fish" (pg. 84)

Vardaman's outer life seems to have some glimpses of his inner monologue seeming out from inside of him into the outer world, other than these moments, Vardaman doesn't say much. "Then mine can be a fish, can't it Darl?" (pg. 101). "Are you going to nail her up? Cash? Cash? Cash?" (pg. 65)


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