Guide Faulkner and the Natural World (Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Series)

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A childishly cruel white vigilante, Percy Grimm, follows him there and, over Hightower's protest, shoots and castrates Christmas. Having redeemed himself at last, Hightower is then depicted as falling into a deathlike swoon, his whole life flashing before his eyes, including the past adventures of his Confederate grandfather, who was killed while stealing chickens from a farmer's shed.

Brown deserts Lena once again, but Byron follows him and challenges him to a fight. Brown beats the braver, smaller Bunch, then skilfully hops a moving train and disappears.

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At the end of the story, an anonymous man is talking to his wife about two strangers he picked up on a trip to Tennessee, recounting that the woman had a child and the man was not the father. This was Lena and Byron, who were conducting a half-hearted search for Brown, and they are eventually dropped off in Tennessee. Due to its naturalistic, violent subject matter and obsession with the ghosts of the past, Light in August is characterized as a Southern gothic novel, a genre also exemplified by the works of Faulkner's contemporary Carson McCullers , and by later Southern writers like Flannery O'Connor , and Truman Capote.

Jarraway view Faulkner's use of Southern gothic genre tropes , such as the dilapidated plantation house and the focus on mystery and horror, as self-conscious modernist commentary on man's "warped relationship with the past" [3] and the impossibility of determining true identity. According to Daniel Joseph Singal, Faulkner's literary style gradually developed from 19th century Victorian to modernist, with Light in August more firmly grounded in the tradition of the latter.

The novel is characteristic of the modernist fascination with polarities—light and dark, good and evil—the burden of history on the present, and the splintering of personal identity. This lack of organization and narrative continuity was viewed negatively by some critics. The title refers to the fire of the house that is at the center of the story. The whole novel revolves around one event, the fire, which is visible for miles around, and happens in August.

Some critics have speculated that the meaning of the title derives from a colloquial use of the word "light" to mean giving birth—typically used to describe when a cow will give birth and be "light" again—and connect this to Lena's pregnancy. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and—from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere.

ISBN 13: 9781578061211

Within the novel itself, the title is alluded to when Gail Hightower sits at his study window waiting for his recurring vision of his grandfather's last raid. The vision always occurs in "that instant when all light has failed out of the sky and it would be night save for that faint light which daygranaried leaf and grass blade reluctant suspire, making still a little light on earth though night itself has come.

All of the protagonists in the novel are misfits and social outcasts surrounded by an impersonal and largely antagonistic rural community, which is represented metonymically through minor or anonymous characters. Joanna Burden and Reverend Hightower are hounded by the people of Jefferson for years, in a failed effort to make them leave town. Byron Bunch, though more accepted in Jefferson, is still viewed as a mystery or simply overlooked. Both Joe Christmas and Lena Grove are orphans, strangers in town, and social outcasts, though the former draws anger and violence from the community, while the latter is looked down upon but receives generous assistance in her travels.

According to Cleanth Brooks , this opposition between Joe and Lena is a pastoral reflection of the full spectrum of social alienation in modern society. There are a variety of parallels with Christian scripture in the novel. The life and death of Joe Christmas is reminiscent of the passion of Christ , Lena and her fatherless child parallel Mary and Christ, [13] and Byron Bunch acts as a Joseph figure. Christian imagery such as the urn, the wheel, and the shadow, can be found throughout. Light in August has 21 chapters, as does the Gospel of St.

As Virginia V. James Hlavsa points out, each chapter in Faulkner corresponds to themes in John. For example, echoing John's famous, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God", is Lena's insistent faith in the "word" of Lucas, who is, after all, the father. John 5, the healing of the lame man by immersion, is echoed by Christmas's repeatedly being immersed in liquids. The teaching in the temple in John 7 is echoed by McEachern's attempts to teach Christmas his catechism. The crucifixion occurs in John 19, the same chapter in which Christmas is slain and castrated.

Faulkner is considered one of the foremost American writers on race in the United States , and his novels, including Light in August , often explore the persistent obsession with blood and race in the South that have carried over from the antebellum era to the 21st century.

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The first reference to him though is not by these children but by the dietitian who gave him a dollar to not tell about her amorous adventure with an intern doctor. However suspicion must fall on Doc Hines Joe's deranged grandfather who placed him in the orphanage and stays on as the boilerman. It is he who may have whispered the lie about the little boy's origins to the other children.

Because of this, Joe Christmas is fixated on the idea that he has some African American blood, which Faulkner never confirms, and views his parentage as an original sin that has tainted his body and actions since birth. The secret of his blackness is one that he abhors as well as cherishes; he often willingly tells white people that he is black in order to see their extreme reactions and becomes violent when one white Northern woman reacts nonchalantly.

Though Christmas is guilty of violent crimes, Faulkner emphasizes that he is under the sway of social and psychological forces that are beyond his control and force him to reenact the part of the mythical black murderer and rapist from Southern history. Christmas exemplifies how existing outside of categorization, being neither black nor white, is perceived as a threat by society that can only be reconciled with violence.

Faulkner and the Ecology of the South (Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Series)

He is also perceived as neither male nor female, [18] just as Joanna Burden, whom Faulkner portrays as "masculinized," is also neither male nor female and is rejected by her community. However, while women and minorities are both viewed as "subversive" and are restricted by the patriarchal society depicted in the novel, Lena Grove is able to travel safely and be cared for by people who hate and mistrust her, because she plays on the conventional rule that men are responsible for a woman's wellbeing.

This romantic view of women in the novel posits that men have lost their innocent connection to the natural world, while women instinctively possess it. In Light in August, as in most of the other novels set in Yoknapatawpha County, Faulkner focuses mainly on poor white Southerners, both from the upper and lower classes, who struggle to survive in the ruined post-war economy of the South. The characters in Light in August —who are mostly from the lower classes, with the exception of Reverend Hightower and Joanna Burden—are united by poverty and Puritanical values that cause them to regard an unwed mother like Lena Grove with disdain.

William Faulkner - Barn Burning

Faulkner shows the restrictiveness and aggression of their Puritanical zeal, which has caused them to become "deformed" in their struggle against nature. When it was first published in , the novel was moderately successful; 11, copies were initially printed, with a total of four printings by the end of the year, although a significant number of copies from the fourth printing had not been sold by In , Maurice Coindreau translated the novel into French.

These works initially met with approval from the Nazi censors and received much attention from German literary critics, because they assumed that Faulkner was a conservative agrarian positively depicting the struggle for racial purity ; soon after, however, Faulkner's works were banned by the Nazis, and post-war German criticism reappraised him as an optimistic Christian humanist.

Faulkner's books were not available in Germany until because US army censors also did not approve of his work. According to Michael Millgate, though it is not typically considered Faulkner's best novel, Light in August was recognized early on as being "a major text, central to any understanding or evaluation of his career as a whole. In spite of these complaints, the novel came to be viewed positively because of its violence and dark themes, as this was a contrast to the sentimental , romantic Southern literature of the time.

In , the Modern Library ranked Light in August 54th on its list of the best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Yoknapatawpha County - Wikipedia

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So, the Dummies guides are a series of works. But the Loeb Classical Library is a series of editions, not of works. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist. I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Common Knowledge Series Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha. Series: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Series by cover. Series description A yearly conference at U.

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