2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Using Cognitive Theory to Illuminate the Character Darl and His Demise


Derek Franklin ♦
Dr. Bob Mielke, Faculty Mentor

In William Faulkner’s 1930 novel As I Lay Dying, Faulkner begins the novel by portraying Darl as a reliable narrator and the novel’s protagonist, but each chapter the point-of-view changes, allowing the reader to see the story of the Bundren’s incredible journey to bury its matron unfold from several perspectives.  In my paper I use theory of mind and some aspects of script (schema) theory as lenses through which to analyze As I Lay Dying and the character of Darl, specifically how and why Darl’s family comes to despise and betray him.  Throughout the novel, Faulkner paints Darl as a madman with seemingly psychic powers, and theory of mind proves a valuable tool in helping us to understand Darl’s character and how other characters perceive him, especially in light of the constant shifting of narrative perspective. 

Keywords: Faulkner, Cognitive Theory, Theory of Mind, Script and Schema Theory

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 102-5
Location: MG 1090
Time: 9:00

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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