3 SummaryLena Grove is a country girl who is searching for Lucas Burch. Burch is the one who impregnated Lena.She wants to go to Jefferson to find him. She hitch hiked on a wagon to get to Burch. She is from Doane's Mill, Alabama. This is a place where all the trees are cut down and the machines are rusted. Armstid is a man who helps females. He gave Lena a ride to his home and convinced his wife to let her stay. His wife Mrs. Armstid does not like Lena for she is not married to Burch and therefore is a symbol of major moral wrongdoing. She gives Lena a small porcelain bank if Lena leaves by morning.The next day she arrives at a town near Jefferson for a ride to the city. When she arrive there a house is on fire.Lena Grove is the main speaker of this chapter
4 Character Development Lena Grove – A person who is pregnant with Lucas Burch child. She wants to travel to Jefferson to find Lucas. She is simple and refined.Armstid – A person who is kind to the pregnant girl, he helps Lena to have shelter for a day and carries her to a nearest town to Jefferson.Mrs. Armstid – Armstid’s wife she is strict but reassuring and doesn't allow moral corruption.Lucas Burch – the one who impregnate Lena. In chapter one there is little about this character.Faulkner unique style for putting original prose to reveal information of that character. He uses italics to show a character’s way of thinking. He is a modernist who creates a world where everything is a realistic place and through the view point of the character. The complexity of the character is achieved by looking inward at his/her action and inner thought.
5 “Other chunks”Doane's Mill – a decayed place where all the trees are cut down. A place with evil intentions and dark wilted places.Isolation – one of the main themes in the story. Lena is one of the character who is in isolation because of her unmarried status while having to mother her child.Christian – a part of rules that is set by for all Christian for what is right and wrong.“A man. All men. He will pass up a hundred chances to do good for one chance to meddle where meddling is not wanted. He will overlook and fail to see chances, opportunities, for riches and fame and well doing, and even sometimes for evil. But he won't fail to see a chance to meddle. “- Faulkner criticize that the mans fall is the mans desire to have and needs to meddle someone’s else place to get out of there same old place and wife all the time. To start somewhat a new person something different then what they usually do.
7 Main PointsByron Bunch reminisces on when Joe Christmas first began to work in the mill as a tattered, lonely man.Christmas moves onto the grounds of Miss Burden where he resides in a cottage in her backyard and sells whiskey illegally to make ends meat.Bunch turns to Reverend Gail Hightower for help.Christmas quit his job at the mill and Joe Christmas and Joe Brown became very close, very quickly.A fire breaks out at the Burden house and Byron watches the smoke rise as he works and does nothing about it.The burning of the house represents the death of Miss Burden.Lena Grove disrupts Byron’s work when she comes in and says she is looking for a man named Lucas BurchByron falls in love with Lena Grove, love at first sight.
8 Setting The men are found at the mill The cottage on Miss Burden’s landAt Byron’s work watching the smoke billows
9 ThemesBurdens of past: Byron Bunch thinks back to Joe Christmas’ time at the mill. Whether these are good memories or bad, he seems to describe his time in a negative way using lots of angry diction.Burning of the house:The burning of the house when Byron sees it is a clear representation and symbolism of Miss Burden’s death.
11 Significant Quotes“It is because a fellow is more afraid of the trouble he might have than he ever is of the trouble he’s already got. He’ll cling to trouble he’s used to before he’ll risk a change.” -Byron BunchThis quote spoken by Byron Bunch connects with Faulkner’s style in that it shows how insightful and real Faulkner is in his writing. This quote also helps to establish a connection between Bunch and Hightower as they both feel the same way.“From a distance, quite faint though quite clear, he can hear the sonorous waves of massed voices from the church: a sound at once austere and rich, abject and rod, swelling and falling in the quiet summer darkness like a harmonic tide.”This quote shows the very detailed and descriptive nature of Faulkner’s writing while also conveying Hightower’s feelings for the church and his former way of life. You see the theme of detachment with Hightower yet you understand that he feels as if he still belongs in the pulpit
12 Evident Themes Plot Development/Character Development Solitude/outcast (Hightower has been ostracized by the community, is rarely seen)Racism (beating of Hightower by KKK)Remnants of war/heroic past (the evident presence of the grandfather, a Civil War cavalryman who was killed)Plot Development/Character DevelopmentChapter 3 is significant in that it fully introduces and explains the circumstance of Gail Hightower’s isolation and his true personalityYou see the development of the relationship between Byron Bunch and Hightower and how the two are related in character
13 Point of ViewThe point of view is critical in this chapter in that it is told from the perspective of an observer of all these happenings.Slightly biasedSome questions are left hanging out there, unanswered
15 PlotOpening Scene: Byron Bunch and the Reverend Hightower sit facing each other in the Rev. Hightower’s office, Byron begins speaking to Hightower about his experience with Lena’s arrivalHightower at first fails to see the connection between the burning house and Lena, Bunch then informs him that the burning house was “that old Burden house”. Hightower also was not aware of Brown and Christmas’s residence in the cabin behind Miss Burden’s house.Bunch proceeds with his story as he tells the Hightower about Brown’s bootlegging. At this point, it is understood that Bunch had also told Lena this same information, revealing to both her and Hightower (at separate instances) that Brown is the man that Lena is actually looking for.Bunch figured out a way to prevent Lena from continuing her search that evening. He sends her to the Beards who let her stay there for the evening. While talking to Hightower about his encounters with Lena, he mentions that Christmas is said to be “part negro.”The next part of his story to Hightower focuses on Brown and Christmas as relating to the fire. A man saw Brown, drunk, in the burning house of Miss Burden, attempting to prevent him from going upstairs. Appearing suspicious once Miss Burden was found upstairs practically decapitated, Brown confesses that Christmas had made threats to kill Miss Burden and that he was “part negro.”Closing Scene: Bunch and Hightower remain in the Reverend’s office as Bunch admits he has not yet told Lena about the situation Brown is in at the moment.
16 Themes/Quotes“And then I looked up and there she was, with her face all fixed for smiling and with her mouth all fixed to say his name, when she saw I wasn’t him. And I never knowed any better than to blab the whole thing.” (pg 78)“And then she says ‘Did he have a little white scar right here by his mouth?’” (pg 80)“I reckon a woman in her shape (and having to find a husband named Burch at the same time she thought with dry irony) ain’t got no business…” (pg 86)Isolation- especially evident through Lena in her pursuit for the man some take to be her husbandIdentity (or lack thereof)- Lena searches for Lucas Burch, who has changed his name, and she wishes to change her identity by marrying Burch
17 Character Development/Point of View Third Person- OmniscientThird person tell the story Bunch conveys to Hightower about what he told LenaElastic narrativeHightower is seen, through his reactions to Bunch’s story, as a thoughtful, almost wise man. This is extremely ironic when one takes into consideration Hightower’s past history with the community.Although Brown presents himself through police questioning as an innocent man (at least concerning the incident regarding Miss Burden), his character as someone who cannot be entirely trusted is further developed. Taking into consideration what little background information exists about Christmas at this point, combined with Brown’s information to the police, Christmas’s character has a very negative connotation.Lena, despite everything she should be overwhelmed with, lacks much concern or worry and thus is presented as somewhat naïve to her surroundings.Bunch is oddly concerned with Lena’s story and possible future, as is revealed through his conversation with Hightower. Lena’s arrival may indicate a possible turning point for him as a character.
19 Main Points-Joe Brown arrives home at their cabin late one night, stumbling and drunk. Out of annoyance, Joe Christmas proceeds to hold him down and hit him repeatedly.-Christmas stays up late that night, thinking a lot about Miss Burden and how he wants to forgive her for lying to him.-Christmas streaks in the middle of the road and eventually settles down in the barn outside.-The next morning, Joe Christmas makes his way to a clearing where he baths and shaves in the river and eventually wanders through a black part of town.-After meeting with a few black families, he goes back to Miss Burden’s with a sense of fear in what is about to happen.
20 Setting Joe Brown and Joe Christmas at the cabin Joe Christmas naked in the street and sleeping in the barnChristmas shaving and wandering through the black communityMiss Burden's house
23 In this chapter we find out about Joe Christmas when he was a little boy. Around the age of five he is trying to steal toothpaste from a dietician. While he is trying to take the toothpaste the dietician and a younger male doctor come into the room to have sex.
24 Joe hides behind a curtain and tries not to get catch, but while the dietician and the man make love Joe gets sick from eating the toothpaste. He is then discovered and the dietician treats him horribly. Later on the dietician becomes paranoid that Joe will tell people about her and the other doctor having sex.
25 The dietician tries to get Joe switched into another orphanage because he is biracial. Learning this plan, the janitor of Joe’s present orphanage disappears with Joe in order to save him. But he is taken into custody for trying to steal the boy. Joe is then adopted by Mr. McEachern who is an unemotional, religious man.
27 SummaryIn the beginning of Chapter seven the narrative jumps to three years after Presbyterian preacher, Mr. McEachern adopts Joe Christmas. He is yelling at Joe for not having his catechism memorized and then proceeds to beat him until he passes out. After waking up McEachern forces Joe to kneel at the side of his bed and pray for forgiveness for not having his catechism memorized. While McEachern is gone, his “mother” brings him a tray of food but Joe reacting violently angrily throws it on the floor only later does he eat it off of the floor. The story then jumps to several years later at the age of fourteen now Joe Christmas and other farm boys lure a black woman to a shed to have sex. When it is Joe’s turn he beats the woman repetitively until stopped by the others. At seventeen Joe sells his calf to buy a suit which of course McEachern finds out about and beats him over.
28 SignificanceIn this chapter Joe is portrayed as an animal several different times. When he is eating the food off the floor he is compared to a “dog” or “pig.” When he is beating the black woman he is again an animal but this time it is not so vulnerable but even scary. These comparisons of Christmas comes back to the overwhelming theme of identity, he is unable to see who he is because he is trapped in a “cage.” He is not only imprisoned in the fact that Mr. McEachern keeps him locked up; he is unable to release his emotions without receiving consequences. His lack of identity causes many problems; he can’t explain why he does things or even why he can’t stop himself from doing these things. This chapter shows many different signs of Joe and his lack of identity showed through his vulnerable state.
29 Significant Quotes“…Years after that night when, an hour later, he rose from the bed and went and knelt in the corner as he had not knelt on the rug, and above the outraged food kneeling, with his hands ate, like a savage, like a dog.”Joe Christmas is often treated like a dog having to eat his dinner off the floor, being beaten for the smallest things, and constantly being watched. His search for identity becomes hard when there is always someone there to tell him he is doing something wrong.“It was not the hard work which he hated, nor the punishment and injustice. He was used to that before he ever saw either of them. He expected no less, and so he was neither outraged nor surprised. It was the woman: that soft kindness which he believed himself doomed to be forever victim of and which he hated worse than he did the hard and ruthless justice of men.”Joe Christmas reveals his severe hatred for women, at this point of the book it is evident this it true by his beatings of women. It is not yet revealed where this hatred began but this is a key element in understanding part of Joe’s identity. This is another characteristic he is slowly sharing.
32 Summary: Chapter 8 details the majority of Joe Christmas’s affair with Bobbie, the waitress and prostitute.Key characters: Joe Christmas, Bobbie, Mr. and Mrs. McEachern, Max and Mame and the boy who tells Joe about womenRepeated images: the rope, Joe’s dead watch, Bobbie’s big hands, eyes (Bobbie’s and Mr. McEachern’s), Mame’s blond hair, the forest and the urns in it, money, blood Point of view: Third limited. Mostly the story is told from Joe’s perspective but it switches to Bobbie’s briefly.
33 Important Events-Joe meets Bobbie, and becomes infatuated almost instantly-After learning about periods, Joe kills a sheep and washes his hands in the blood-Joe walks quickly away when Bobbie tells him about her illness, and sees urns in the forest-Bobbie tells Joe she is a prostitute, and Joe cries-Joe confides in Bobbie about the possibility he is part Negro, she doesn’t believe him
34 Literary Devices-Flashback: The entire relationship is told as a flashback, because in the present Joe is sneaking out of the house to meet Bobbie.-Tone: In the chapter’s beginning, the tone is mysterious because Joe knows his destination, but it is not yet clear in the story.-Allusions: Joe washing his hands in the blood of a sheep (or lamb) alludes to the representation of Jesus as the Lamb of God; Mr. McEachern calls Joe Romeo.-Imagery: Images are used throughout the chapter to convey or reinforce certain ideas or moods. For example, Bobbie’s big hands (and her name) make her appear masculine, and reaffirm the idea that Joe is disturbed by feminine things; he is drawn to Bobbie because of her masculinity, as shown by her hands.
36 Point of viewMcEachernJoe ChristmasThemesRejectionHurtTruthObliviousness of listening and looking
37 Plot DevelopmentJoe knocks out his stepfather, possibly killing him, after McEachern begins verbally abusing Bobbie. Joe takes the money Mrs. McEachern has been saving and leaves to get Bobbie, there he finds out the truth about Bobbie and is rejected and left beaten on the ground.
38 Character Development Joe moves on from his old life, what he has done makes it final and he cannot go back to the way things were before, the truth of what Bobbie is and how she treated him afterwards has closed Joe, from this point on he never opens up to anyone else.
40 Recurring Themes in Chapter 10 Significance of memoriesThis theme is crucial in the novel considering the majority of it consists of the memories and recollections of Joe Christmas. These memories and history of Joe Christmas show to shape him as a character.“Knowing not grieving remembers a thousand savage and lonely streets.” Pg. 220IdentityThe theme of identity is significant in this chapter with not only Joe’s continued quest, but with the introduction of Miss Burden. Throughout Chapter 10, Joe remains futile in his attempts to establish any form of identity by avoiding formality and permanence in any given situation. The reader also continues to see the inward struggle in Joe Christmas with his physical identity concerning race.“He did not know the name of the town; he didn’t care what word it used for a name. He didn’t even see it, anyway.”Themes:Significance of MemoriesIdentity
41 Faulkner’s StyleFaulkner’s style is most notable on page 221 with the stream of consciousness. The sense of abandonment and absolute solitude is portrayed best through the exact thoughts of Joe and exact recount of what was occurring around him. By associating the reader with Joe’s surroundings, the reader is then able to somewhat understand Joe by hearing what he hears, and feeling what he feels, and putting themselves in the situation. “…for sweet jesus what does he want with it he doesn’t use money he doesn’t need it ask bobbie if he needs money they give it to him that the rest of us have to pay for it leave it there I said like hell this ain’t mine leave it to bobbies it ain’t yours neither unless sweet jesus you’re going to tell me he owes you jack too that he has been f.ing you too behind my back on credit and I said leave it go chase yourself it ain’t but five or six bucks…” Pg. 221Style:Stream of Consciousness
42 Character Analysis: Joanna Burden Miss Burden is introduces in Chapter 10 as a reject of the town of Jefferson due to her family’s reputation as Yankees. She sponsors numerous All Black colleges, and was rumored to have had relations with numerous individuals in the Black community.Joanna Burden represents the continued theme of Isolationism. Like Gail Hightower, Joanna is a victim of societal isolation versus personal isolation.As she develops a complex relationship with Joe Christmas, the reader beings to understand the meaning behind her name, “Burden”. She is both an emotional and physically demanding burden on Joe Christmas in the she demands intimacy, which by learned behavior, Joe automatically rejects. She reflects all female relationships in Joe’s life.Mrs. Burden: supports Blacks, continued theme of isolation (personal v. societal), name means “burden.”
44 Point of view: Joe Christmas Summary: This chapter describes how the relationship between Joe Christmasand Ms. Burden begins. At the start of their relationship, they talk very little,even though they spend their nights together. Their relationship is at timesturbulent, and at one point Christmas throws a meal Ms. Burden has preparedfor him into a wall. Later, Ms. Burden comes to talk to Christmas, and she tellsthe story of the Burden’s. This includes how Nathaniel Burden, Ms. Burden’sfather, went to Mexico, returned with a wife and child, and how Ms. Burden’sgrandfather and brother were killed by the ex-Confederate ColonelSartoris. After this, Christmas reveals that he believes himself to be part Black.Themes:The Nature of WomanhoodHeritage and its Impact on the PresentThe Nature of RelationshipsPlot Development: In this chapter, we finally see more of Miss Burden besidesbeing the silent host to Joe Christmas. Her background is revealed, as well aswhy she is referred to by the people of Jefferson as a “Yankee.” For JoeChristmas, he continues to fail to understand women, as well as showing anextremely violent side of his personality.
45 Quotes“But beneath his hands the body might have been the body of a deadwoman not yet stiffened. But he did not desist; though his hands were hard andurgent it was with rage alone. ‘At least I have made a woman of her at last,’ hethought. ‘Now she hates me. I have taught her that, at least.’” Page 236“He went to the kitchen door. He expected that to be locked also. But he did notrealize until he found that it was open, that he had wanted it to be. When hefound that it was not locked it was like an insult. It was as though some enemyupon whom he had wreaked his utmost of violence and contumely stood,unscathed and unscarred, and contemplated him with a musing and insufferablecontempt.” Page 237“‘She’s trying to. I had expected it to have gray in it She’s trying to be a womanand she dont know how.’” Page 240
46 Quotes (cont’d)“It was in play, in a sense: a kind of deadly play and smiling seriousness: theplay of two lions that might or might not leave marks. They locked, the straparrested: face to face and breast to breast they stood: the old man with hisgaunt, grizzled face and his pale New England eyes, and the young one whobore no resemblance to him at all, with his beaked nose and white teethsmiling.” Page 246“‘Remember this. Your grandfather and brother are lying there, murdered not byone white man but by the curse which God put on a whole race before yourgrandfather or your brother or me or you were even thought of. A race doomedand cursed to be forever and ever a part of the white race’s doom and curse forits sins. Remember that.’” Page 252
48 Joe Christmas enters what he refers to as the ‘second phase’ of his relationship with Ms. Burden in which she continued to cook for him but they avoided each other except late at night when he entered her bedroom (or the closet, sitting room, etc…).This second phase faded into the third as the affair became too routine and Christmas felt too restricted and dependent. As Christmas realized he was too deeply involved with Ms. Burden, she was falling in love, and gaining an aura of femininity not present before in her “coldfaced, almost manlike” features.Christmas gave in to her whims, such as climbing through the window to meet her and exchanging secret notes, but her new feminine promiscuity seemed to him more sinful than their escapades ever were before, as Christmas associated femininity and women with sin and weakness. He realized he must leave her, but he feels he cannot escape, they are “locked like sisters”.
49 Christmas observes that he keeps his bootlegging a secret not because Ms. Burden would have minded, but because he feels the need to keep secrets from the women around him.Now Ms. Burden now wants to always meet in the bedroom, and talks of a child. She wants to tie herself to him permanently. Christmas begins to leave more frequently for ‘business trips’, in which he sleeps with prostitutes. Ms. Burden tells Xmas she is pregnant and that she wants him to take over her affairs and ties to the negro community, and she plans to will her things to him.He avoided her for several months, when he finally goes to her he realizes she is old, and it was menopause, not a baby. He insults her and calls her worn out. As if in agreement, she says it would be better if “we both were dead”.
50 He meets her again soon after, late at night and finds her praying He meets her again soon after, late at night and finds her praying. She begs him to pray with her before he kills her but he refuses her final wishes As he stands over her kneeling body in the darkness he remembers the beginning of their affair, the first time they met in the dark.
52 Citizens gather around the crime scene of Miss Burdens death and the burning fire while the Sheriff works to find a suspect. Once a $1,000 reward is offered Joe Brown claims that Christmas is the killer and hounds are now on the trail of Christmas.While Byron contemplates his plan with Hightower to lure Lena into marrying him, although Hightower disapproves.
53 Miss Burden attempts to emotionally connect with Joe Christmas which he resents any type of feminine intimacy much like Mrs. McEachern. This ultimately leads to Miss Burdens death and the arson of her house.“So they looked at the fire, with that same dull and static amaze which they had brought down from the old fetid caves where knowing began, as though, like death, they had never seen fire before.” – This is a comment on the human attraction to any sort of accident. It is innate that humans find violence or anything relating to it so interesting.
54 “Among them the casual Yankees and the poor whites and even the southerners who had lived for a while in the north, who believed aloud that it was an anonymous negro crime committed not by a negro but by Negro and who knew, believed, and hoped that she had been ravished too: at least once before her throat was cut and at least once afterward.” – The community is just hoping that a black man has committed this crime so that their racist mindset may be supported even more so than it already is.“Because the other made nice believing.” – The Jefferson townspeople have a selective perception and believe what they want to believe.
56 Summary: JC as a Christ character: Chapter 14 acts as a pivotal chapter for the development of Joe Christmas. The sheriff is informed of Joe's shenanigans during a Christian revival meeting, and the sheriff's team and dogs go after Joe's trail. Joe eludes them, and the bulk of the chapter focuses on Joe's mini-journey on foot as we glance further into Joe's psyche.JC as a Christ character:-Traveling on foot-Fasting and then overcoming the temptation of hunger-Emphasis on days of the week-Joe's experience in this chapter can be related to Jesus' temptations during Lent, with the devil's various temptations along his way.
57 Significant Quotations: Significant Imagery:Joe travels in a straight line, disregarding easier paths around obstaclesSwapping shoes with the woman in the cabin.Joe cutting himself shaving, and then washing in the cold river. This could symbolize a harsh rebirth or entrance into enlightenment.Significant Quotations:"Yes I would say Here I am I am tired I am tired of running of having to carry my life like it was a basket of eggs" p337Suggests Christmas' imminent death."He had grown to manhood in the country, where like the unswimming sailor his physical shape and his thought had been molded by its compulsions without his learning anything about its actual shape and feel." p338Describes how Christmas is only now beginning to understand the land that birthed him, as the woods seem to be more of a comfort to him than his birth or adopted parents ever were. This could suggest a mother earth type relationship between Joe and his surroundings, furthering the idea of a Christ allusion, as both Joe and Jesus came from something above humanity.
58 The final paragraph:Some of the most pertinent text relating to the evolution of Joe Christmas as a character. "Looking, he can see the smoke low on the sky, beyond an imperceptible corner, he is entering it again, the street which ran for thirty years (JC died at 33). It had been a paved street. where going should be fast. It had made a circle and he is still inside of it. Though during the last seven days (holy week) he has had no paved street, yet he has travelled further than in all the thirty years before, And yet he is still inside the circle, "And yet I have been further in these seven days than in all the thirty years: he thinks. "But I have never got outside that circle. I have never broken out of the ring of what I have already done and cannot ever undo. He thinks quietly, sitting on the seat, with planted on the dashboard before him the shoes, the black shoes smelling of negro: that mark on his ankles the gauge definite and ineradicable of the black tide creeping up his legs moving from his feet upward as death moves.(foreshadows Joe's death, his departure from travelling on foot suggests his swift and charioted journey towards death)" p339
60 SummaryWe are first introduced to the Hines in chapter fifteen and their lifestyle. They live in a small bungalow with a filthy unkempt yard. They moved to Mottstown thirty years ago. The couple is young and tiny. Uncle Doc has the look of a crazed man and wears filthy clothes. He first worked in Memphis, but when he lost or quit that job he would do odd jobs for the people in Mottstown. The Negroes of the community would try to help the Hines by supplying them with cooked dishes and would always leave the Hines’ home with the dishes empty. Once we stopped working the small jobs around the community he would go to the Negro churches and viciously preach the superiority of the white race. When Joe Christmas was found in town and was being taken to the jail, Uncle Doc shoved his way through the crowd and began to hit Christmas with his hickory stick.
61 SummaryTwo men take Uncle Doc home and his wife, a short pudgy woman, meet them at the front door. Uncle Doc calms down when they get inside and Mrs. Hines sets him downs into a chair and asks him what did he do with Milly’s baby. A citizen of Mottstown tells the second part of chapter fifteen. Christmas was found walking through the town until someone recognized him and the town began to attack him. People spotted Mrs. Hines, with Uncle Doc behind her, trying to find a way to see Christmas. She wore a purple dress with a large white plume on a hat. First she went to the jail where Metcalf told her she needed permission from the sheriff to see Christmas and that he was in his office at the courthouse, and then to the sheriff’s house. When Mrs. Hines returned to the jail, Christmas was being lead to two cars headed to Jefferson. Mrs. Hines pushed her way through the crowd and finally was able to look Christmas in the face. The rental cars from Salmons were too expensive so Mrs. Hines waits for the 2 am train.
62 Character Development and Symbolism Uncle Doc comes off as a fallen crazed prophet.Mrs. Hines is shown as the distant wife of Uncle Doc. Purple is used to relate her with Joe Christmas the Christ figure. The plume represents the fallen angel that is Joe Christmas.Christmas’ past begins to clear and we find him coming to terms with his death by walking in the open of Mottstown and grooming in the various stores. This is as if he is getting prepared for his own funeral.The first person narration allows us to feel the distance that the Hines have created within Mottstown.
64 Chapter Summary:Hightower accuses Byron of manipulating Lucas Burch's situation in order to further his own suit with LenaByron brings the Hineses to Hightower's house, where they tell the story of Joe's birthFlashback: The Hineses' 18 year-old daughter Milly was impregnated by a passing circus performer who told her that he was MexicanDoc Hines discovered them together and killed the man, for which crime he was acquitted when the circus owner corroborated Doc's claims that the man was black, not MexicanDoc Hines went out in search of a doctor to perform an abortion on Milly, but failed; instead, he rampaged through an African-American church service and was jailed after pulling a gun on those who tried to restrain himDoc Hines returned from jail around Milly's due date; instead of going for the doctor when she went into labor, he stood armed guard and watched as she died in childbirthDoc disappeared with the baby to Memphis and left it on an orphanage doorstep. He got a job as the janitor at the orphanage and returned home when the boy, Joe, was adopted by the McEachernsEnd Flashback: Byron and Mrs. Hines ask Hightower to give Joe an alibi (that he was with the reverend on the night of Ms. Burden's murder) so that his grandparents can see him for one dayFurious, Hightower refuses and throws everyone out of his house
65 Character Development Point of ViewCharacter DevelopmentAlthough the narrators of Milly's story change throughout its telling, chapter 16 is predominantly 3rd person omniscient, with certain passages of internal dialogue from Byron and Hightower. Mrs. Hines tells the bulk of Joe's back-story, but her narrative is punctuated by furious 3rd person outbursts from Doc Hines, who is obsessed with the "bitchery and abomination" of his daughter and of the dietician. Byron continues his role as an intermediary between Rev. Hightower and the outside world. Hightower himself maintains his insularity, viewing himself as distinct from "mechanical time" and fixating on memories from before his societal exile. Doc and Mrs. Hines serve largely to relay Milly's story in this chapter, but Faulkner characterizes them through their past actions. Mrs. Hines is physically and emotionally at the mercy of her unstable and fanatical husband, who, like Simon McEachern, is a religious zealot. Doc Hines is intensely racist and impulsive - his volatility is contrasted by the constancy of the repressed Mrs. Hines.
66 Themes:Doc Hines' actions continue the theme of negative religiosityMrs. Hines reprises the role of the vanquished mother figure, as seen with Mrs. McEachernMilly resembles Lena in her youth, sexual awareness, and liberalityHightower and his obsession with the past reflect the theme of spiritual damageQuotes: "It seems to him that the past week has rushed like a torrent and that the week to come, which will begin tomorrow, is the abyss, and that now on the brink of cataract the stream has raised a single blended and sonorous and austere cry, not for justification but as a dying salute before its own plunge, and not to any god but to the doomed man in the barred cell within hearing of them and of two other churches, and in whose crucifixion they too will raise a cross." p.368 "It's the Lord God's abomination, and I am the instrument of his will." p. 380 "But he kept in touch with God and at night he said 'That bastard, Lord' and God said 'He is still walking My earth' and old Doc Hines kept in touch with God and at night he said 'That bastard, Lord' and God said 'He is still walking My earth' and old Doc Hines kept in touch with God and at night he wrestled and he strove and he cried aloud 'That bastard, Lord! I feel! I feel the teeth and fangs of evil!' and God said 'It's that bastard. Your work is not done yet. He's a pollution and an abomination on My earth'." p.386
68 Chapter 17Lena goes into labor is the major part of this chapter, but Byron asks Hightower to help him with the delivery because he did not arrange for a doctor. He then tries to go find a doctor but the doctor took so long that when he returns the baby is already born and Mrs. Hines is holding the baby. Mrs. Hines starts to go crazy and is convinced that Lena is her daughter and that the new baby is Joe Christmas (which can relate to the thought that Christmas is related to Jesus Christ). Lena is having starting to get nervous with Mrs. Hines and does not like the fact that she is seeing them both as someone different and Byron leaves to go find Joe Brown to let him know the events of the night because he feels like it is important for him to know. Hightower soon leaves but has to walk home which is 2 miles because his mule is gone, and he is just happy that he took the time to put his shoes on. He goes back home and makes himself breakfast and coffee and then decides to sleep again. But he is having a hard time sleeping so he ends up going back to the cabin to see Lena and finds her alone and she tells him about Mr. and Mrs. Hines how he snuck out and she went off to go find him. Hightower then goes on to talk about Byron with Lena because he knows that she was expecting Byron and not him. He tells her to just simply let him go. Hightower leaves and when he gets to the mill he finds out that Byron quit his job and that he is most likely at the courthouse for Joe’s case.
69 Quotes:A fellow running from or toward a gun ain't got time to worry whether the word for what he is doing is courage or cowardice.He seemed to stand aloof and watch himself, for all his haste, thinking with a kind of grim unsurprised: ‘Byron Bunch borning a baby. – this is a part of the main importance in this chapter when Byron is in distress for not having a doctor ready for Lena and is going around town like a mad man getting Hightower and trying to find a doctor.Not of exhaustion, but surrender, as though he had given over and relinquished completely that grip upon that blending of pride and hope and vanity and fear, that strength to cling to either defeat. or victory, which is the I-Am, and the relinquishment of which is usually death.- this is to show how exhausted Hightower is, he is having trouble sleeping and this event of the night has just simply burned him out and he cannot do much more.‘Luck,’ Hightower says; ‘luck. I don’t know whether I had it or not.’- I think he is talking about how he is lucky to have been able to help Lena and things actually go fine. It was all luck that this worked out not exactly that it was his luck. He doesn’t really know if he had luck or all that strength just came to him in some way.Characters:In this chapter I think the character that has changed the most would be Hightower. He is exhausted and seems to have experienced so much. He had helped Lena in so many ways and tries to help her even more. But that is what he is there to do but he is doing it in a way that is very bold and the way he has seemed to aged in just a night shows that he experienced a lot in just one night.
70 Themes:Confusion- Mrs. Hines was confused about who Lena and the baby were, Hightower is lost to why Byron has quit his job at the millChaotic – Byron has to run around like a mad man trying to help Lena in any way that he can. Hightower is having to deliver the baby and cannot sleep and Mrs. Hines is freaking out about the baby being Joe Christmas.Distress- the entire chapter is very stressful for everyone. No seems to be stopping and just resting except for Lena and that is just because she has just given labor everyone else is on the move and can’t seem to stay asleep and relax.
72 Brief SummaryByron plans to set off and venture onto his own life, and manages to organize a way for Joe Brown to visit Lena in the cabin with her newborn. Brown, who sees the newborn and Lena for the first time, quickly escapes from the cabin into the woods. Byron, who is spying and sees Brown escape, runs after Brown and they both face-off and fight. When Byron is on the ground after a strong blow from Brown, Brown walks over to a nearby railroad, jumps on a passing train, and disappears.ThemesFluidity of Time: In this chapter, Faulkner begins with Byron’s perspective of the events, and then switches over to Brown’s perspective of event. Then, the points of view come together to tie in the ultimate fight between the two. This “time travel” through multiple perspectives is a key note in Faulkner’s writing style for this chapterIdentity/Perspective: From receiving Byron’s view of bringing Lena and Brown together for the child and then reading Brown’s perspective of seeing Lena, the reader understands Byron’s brave/emotional character and Brown’s cowardly/arrogant character.
73 Quotes:“Then a cold, hard wind seems to blow through him. It is at once violent and peaceful, blowing hard away like chaff or trash or dead leaves all the desire and the despair and the hopelessness….” Pg 425Significance: This passage signifies Byron’s change and his new fervor after the fight“No. I never worried. I knowed I could depend on you.” Pg 431Significance: This sentence shows Lena’s consistent naivety to Joe Brown, despite his abandonment
74 Character Development: Byron shows the greatest change in this chapter after his fight with Brown. Byron no longer is a follower, he is his own person and is finally free from feeling inferior to those around himLena does not show a drastic change in character, but she seems to have grown minimally after her encounter with Brown with her newbornBrown still has not changed from his cowardly, arrogant ways; he is still afraid of reality and escapes from potentially being connected with it after seeing both Lena and his baby
76 Chapter ThemesThe lasting effects of memory: Faulkner believes that not only can it shape characters’ actions (like Joe Christmas’), it can leave have such a traumatic effect on someone that time and reality can become distorted. For example, because of the tragedy surrounding her grandson’s birth, Mrs. Hines most likely sees the birth of Lena’s child as the birth of her grandson so long ago. “So I don’t think it is so strange that for the time she got not only the child but his parentage mixed up, since in that cabin those thirty years did not exist…” (p. 447)A religious fanatic committing sins in the name of faith: Doc Hines thinks himself as a messenger from God, but continues to call for the town to lynch his grandson in the name of God: “[he was] preaching lynching, telling the people how he had grandfathered the devil’s spawn and kept it in trust for this day.” (p. 447)Struggle for racial identity: Faulkner comments on the prejudices of the actions of white and black people; there was a perception that black people are inherently more savage and capable of vile acts, while white people were honorable and could not easily commit sin. “it was the black blood which snatched up the pistol and the white blood which would not let him fire it.” (p. 449)Life and fate as a chess game: There are repeated references to “a Player” and “the Board.” This reflects Faulkner’s belief that no matter how much men think they are in control of their own fate or destiny, they are really being manipulated by a powerful force (God as the Player) in this life (the Board.) This is an example of human futility in the grand scheme of things. “He was moving again almost before he had stopped, with that lean, swift obedience to whatever Player moved him on the Board.” (p. 462)
77 Plot DevelopmentAt the start of the chapter, we find out that Joe Christmas escaped from jail and fled to Hightower’s house, where he allowed himself to be killedThe first section of the chapter introduces the elite lawyer Gavin Stevens. He puts Mr. and Mrs. Hines on a train departing Jefferson, promising to send Christmas’ body on a later train if they make the funeral arrangements.Stevens meets a friend at the train station, and begins recounting Christmas’ story and his demise. He extensively speculates on why Christmas fled, determining that Mrs. Hines convinced him to do so because she thought Hightower would save him.The second half of the chapter introduces a fanatical patriot and white supremacist, Percy Grimm. He lives in Jefferson and is in charge of a state National Guard outpost in the town. He gathers men to help preserve order in Jefferson while Christmas is still in town. When Christmas escapes, he puts himself in charge of the ensuing manhunt and takes off on a stolen bicycleHe chases Christmas into Hightower’s house, where Gail Hightower, previously pistol-whipped by Christmas, accosts him, claiming that Christmas was in his house with him the night of Joanna Burden’s murder.Grimm ignores him and engages Christmas in a gunfight in the kitchen, finally killing Christmas with five gunshots through the table he was hiding behind. Afterwards, Grimm castrates him as a final insult.“Upon that black blast the man seemed to rise soaring into their memories forever and ever. They are not to lose it, in whatever peaceful valleys, beside whatever placid and reassuring streams of old age, in the mirroring faces of whatever children they will contemplate old disasters and newer hopes.” (p. 465)
78 Plot Development (cont’d) Continues with the third person omniscient point of view; Faulkner describes the thoughts and actions of each character from an unknown omniscient narrator.Gavin Stevens is introduced simply to provide his educated musings for the reader to take into consideration. He is “A Harvard graduate, a Phi Beta Kappa,” and “his family is old in Jefferson.” Faulkner wants the reader to take Stevens’ musings seriously, and lists his educational and social achievements for the reader to do so.Percy Grimm and his fanatical patriotism and air of superiority add to the final struggle with Joe Christmas. Christmas’ mixed heritage collides with the burning zeal of a white man who believes himself to be racially superior and a glowing example of humanity. Grimm is a perfect foil for Christmas because he is driven, born to be a soldier and incapable of thinking for himself (living to follow orders) whereas Christmas wanders through his life without a purpose, unsure of who he really is and trapped by his own thoughts and memories.Christmas’ castration after his death is the ultimate insult, emasculating him and taking away the one thing he was certain of in his tumultuous life: his manhood.
80 Main Character: Reverend Hightower Other characters: Hightower’s family (grandfather, father, mother, and slave woman)Plot Summary (all within the mind of Hightower):Rev. Hightower reflects on his family members that he calls “phantoms” (p.474).He analyzes his father’s relationship to his grandfather and how there was a great deal of disapproval and disagreement between the two men (p.468).The only thing the grandfather would have appreciated is that his son learned how to perform surgery on both “the invader and devastator on his country”. Hightower’s father fought in the war for four years on the side that he opposed.“The very fact that he could an did see no paradox in the fact that he took an active part in a partisan war and on the very side whose principles opposed his own, was proof enough that he was two separate and complete people, one of whom dwelled by serene rules in a world where reality did not exist.” (pg. 473)
81 Hightower wonders about his marriage and whether or not he used his wife in order to be given the church of Jefferson. Next he contemplates Christmas and dwells on the goodness within the man. As the chapter ends Hightower feels death approaching like the stampede of cavalry he is imagining from the war.“He hears above his heart the thunder increase…it seems to him that he still hears them: the wild bugles and the clashing sabers and the dying thunder of hooves.” (p )In this chapter Hightower accepts his past for what it is and puts it to rest. He will no longer allow himself to be haunted by the past and has decided to find his own self-identity.
82 Themes:Search for Identity and Isolation In this chapter we can see glimpses of Faulkner's reoccurring theme of one's struggle for identity and the isolation of the individual.-Hightower's father fighting a war he didn't agree with-Hightower's father being an outcast to his own family when it came to slavery, religion, and profession-Hightower's confusion of motive behind his marriage and position in the churchThe significance of Hightower within these themes is that he falls into the category because of first his father's and then his decision to not feel the need to conform to society. Had his father chosen a different path for himself and continued a line of a slave-owning family Hightower's life and fate would not be the same.
84 Point of ViewPerspective changes to an unnamed furniture dealer who is recollecting the story to his wife.Plot SummaryThe furniture dealer is filling up gas when Lena asks him if he will give her and Byron a ride. Initially the dealer consents because he believes that the couple is married, but upon closer examination of when they camp out together he realizes that the couple is not married and they are currently still searching for Lucas Burch. The dealer witnesses Byron attempt to convince Lena to stop looking for Lucas Burch, but Lena does not reply, she simply smiles at Byron. Frustrated with Lena, Byron storms off in to the wilderness and then returns and attempts to “lay” with Lena. This attempt is immediately rejected by Lena and then Byron storms off in to the woods for a second time and the dealer and Lena, calm and collect, eat breakfast and prepare to leave. Just as the truck is turning a curve, Byron is seen, waiting to board the truck again. As Byron gets in the truck again, the dealer updates the couple that the truck will soon be entering Saulsbury, Tennessee and Lena reflects about how far she has come.
85 AnalysisFaulkner keeps to the circular structure of the novel by beginning and ending the narrative with Lena. Lena and Byron’s relationship is also clearly defined as a symbiotic connection that voids sexuality. Though Byron attempts to leave Lena twice in this chapter, it is evident that he can not and that Lena and Bryon both need each other to survive. Also it seems to the reader that the reason Lena and Byron are travelling is to find and connect with Lucas Burch, but upon deeper examination it is found that there is a much more complex motivation behind her constant “moving”. Lena is moving, because her character is in a situation where if she stops moving, she will have to settle down and live the rest of her life in that area. However, she does not settle down, rather she continues to trek through both the roads of the South and the roads of her soul. Her refusal to stop shows that she is a strong character who will not stop moving until she finds some sort of enlightenment, much like Joe Christmas and Reverend Hightower experienced earlier in the novel.
86 Important Quotes“He looked like a good fellow, the kind that would hold a job steady and work at the same job a long time, without bothering anybody about a raise neither, long as they let him keep on working. That was what he looked like. He looked like except when he was at work, he would just be something around. I just couldn’t imagine anybody, any woman, knowing that they had ever slept with him, let alone having anything to show folks to prove it”. Pp 496. (Direct Characterization of Byron)“He hadn’t even mentioned marriage, neither. But that’s what he was talking about, and her listening placid and calm, like she had heard it before and she knew that she never even and to bother to say either yes or no to him. Smiling a little she was. But he couldn’t see that” pp501 (Byron and Lena’s relationship)“Yes, sir. You cant beat a woman. Because do you know what I think? I think she was just travelling. I don’t think she had any idea of finding whoever it was she was following. I don’t think she ahd ever aimed to, only she hadn’t told him yet. I reckon this was the first time she had ever been further away from home than she could wlk back before sundown in all her life……….That’s what I think” pp 506. (Direct Characterization of Lena)
88 Modernism in Literature Post WWIModernists reflected the spirit and zeal of the era.People had lost faith in government, established religions, and other traditional institutions.Beginning of the division between “high” art and “low” art.Poets took the biggest advantage of the changing times.The “Lost Generation” of American authors has become well known in their connection to Modernism.Recording the workings of consciousness was popular in literature.Major Modernist authors include:Joseph ConradT.S. EliotWilliam FaulknerErnest HemmingwayVirginia Woolf
89 The Great DepressionEconomic catastrophe that effected North America, Europe, and other industrialized parts of the world.By 1933, 11,000 of the country’s 25,000 banks had failed.By 1932, unemployment had risen to around 30 percent of the workforce.Exposed the weaknesses and imbalance of the US economy.The Dust Bowl affected the Southern Plains and thousands of people migrated westward.
90 Faulkner’s LifeGrew up in Oxford, Mississippi.Was in the Canadian and British, Royal Air Force during WWI.The human drama in Faulkner's novels is based on the actual, historical drama of the time period and the culture of the old South.Many of his novels involve the theme of racial prejudice in the south.While trying to be admitted into the air force, he changed the spelling of his name from Falkner to Faulkner because it looked more British.His first volume of poetry was published in 1924 and was entitled The Marble Faun.Claimed he wrote As I Lay Dying “in six weeks, without changing a word.”Had a daughter who died within the first few days of her life in 1931.
92 Stream of consciousness: “Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders ” (Ch. 6, pg. 119)The chapters are written to reflect the mind of the person that is narrating at that point. In this excerpt, Faulkner emphasizes the way that Joe Christmas slips back into his memories of growing up. The rest of the chapter is written in a way that a person of Christmas’s social stature would speak, or think, with slightly disconnected fragments and crude words. Hightower’s chapters are more eloquent because he is more educated and put together, but they have disturbing moments as the darker, solitary side of him takes over. Lena’s chapters are very straightforward and simple, with colloquial language that matches her character.
93 External vs. Conscious vs. Subconscious External : conversations held between characters or things said out loud by the narratorConscious : “ ‘She’ll make the first sign. ‘ “ (pg. 239) thoughts held by the narrator that he/she knows they are havingSubconscious : “By God, if that’s him, what are we doing, standing around here? Murdering a white woman the black son of a “ thoughts that are held by the narrators, but they have no control overThese thoughts and conversations help develop the complexity of characters by letting the reader see farther into their minds than the characters can themselves.
94 Circular/Elastic Plot Structure : The whole story begins with the pregnant young woman Lena, who then meets Byron Bunch, and through him we are introduced to Gail Hightower, and then to Joe Christmas. The two main characters, Lena and Joe, never meet in the book, but their stories would not be complete without the opposition held by the other person’s. The story line also jumps between different times in the past, and the present. During these flashbacks in the characters’ lives, critical elements of the personalities are revealed and more is added to the plot, but while still leaving us with questions about the truth and the meanings behind the christian fanatics, racial slurs, identity crises, brutal attacks, hopeful thoughts, and moments of redemption.
96 Lena Groves- Lena is the outside of the circular structure and thus the beginning and the ending of the book. She is a woman who is on a journey to find Lucas Burch, the man who impregnated her and moved away with a promise of sending word. Lena comes to Jefferson following Lucas and leading others with her presence. The theme she connects to is the burden of the past, almost in the sense that she reverses it. Lena has the most obvious burden from the past, a baby in her stomach or her arms, yet she is the least weighed down by her past of all of the characters.Gail Hightower- Hightower is the middle ring of the circular structure and the connecting instrument between the other two protagonists. He is a man who used to be a minister in Jefferson but after his wife’s suicide he was no allowed to preacher. He serves as a trusted man much after that though with the solution to Lena and Christmas’s problems coming through his house. The theme he connects to is the burdens of the past as his whole life as we see it is defined by his wife’s suicide and his having been forced from the church.Joe Christmas- Joe Christmas is the center of the circular structure and the meat of the book. He is a man of possible mixed race who has been abused most of his life and, during the present of the book, is being hunted as the murderer of Joanna Burden. The theme he is connected to is the search for identity. Throughout the book, Joe tosses himself between the worlds of various races and people, only at the end seeming to come to terms with his mixed blood.
97 Joe Brown/Lucas Burch- Lucas is Lena’s lost lover and the close friend of Joe Christmas throughout the book. He worked at the mill and was very quick to sell Joe out for a thousand dollar reward. The theme he connects to is the search for identity. This is shown through his constant swings of allegiance and desires. He is originally portrayed as Joe’s friend and the love of Lena’s life but turns on them without much warning.Byron Bunch- Bryon is a resident of Jefferson who works at the mill. He meets Lena early on and quickly falls in love with her, leading to him assisting her throughout the rest of the novel. He puts much faith in Hightower, constantly coming to him for everything. Byron represents the theme of gender roles. He does this by being extremely submissive to Lena and not taking on the supposed male attitude of the time, mainly the negative perception of her child.Joanna Burden- Joanna is the woman who Joe murdered and is also the woman who was his lover for many years. Joanna is an isolated woman who takes in Joe Brown when he arrives. She is a white advocate for the black community as well, which adds to her isolation. She subverts the theme of lack of identity because throughout her whole affair with Joe she seems to know exactly who she is and exactly what she wants and she goes for it even if Joe doesn’t agree.Simon McEachern- McEachern is the adopted father of Joe Brown. He is a crazed Christian and subjects Joe to many beatings in the name of religion throughout Joe’s childhood. He is also the first human Joe kills in the book. He connects t the theme of Burden of the past because he is one of those burdens that bog Joe down.
98 Doc Hines-Doc Hines is Joe’s grandfather who appears halfway through the book. He believes Joe is the devil’s curse on him because he was conceived through a man whom he believed was black and throughout the book preached that Joe should be killed. Doc Hines represents the theme of race division as his whole conflict in the book revolves around Joe’s possible black blood.Mrs. Hines-Mrs. Hines is Joe’s grandmother who appears halfway through the book. She appears to be a steadfast, sturdy woman who truly cares for her grandchild and wants to help him. Mrs. Hines goes with the theme of gender roles because while she seems to play submissive throughout her past, when she is seen in Jefferson she seems t be the anchoring for her family.Bobbie Allen-Bobbie is a prostitute whom Joe falls in love with early in his youth. She treats him as a customer but does seem to care about Joe to some extent. She leaves town though after McEachern attacks her. Bobbie represents the theme of gender roles as she is shown in manly qualities, such as her hands and her name, though she is a woman.
100 Food SymbolismFood symbolism: Throughout the book there is plenty of food mentioned to symbolize Faulkner's intent with his characters. Mainly influencing Joe Christmas, food continues to pop up with a deeper intent. Such as the nature of food, it is a natural and necessary thing that gives those who nourish there bodies pleasure and ecstasy, in a more scientific approach, food and sex are one of the two things that can trigger the pleasure sensor in your brain. having knowing that in comparison to Joe Christmas food is a source of his problems; the dietitian and the toothpaste, his adopted mothers offering thrown to the floor, and even the impending hunger when he's on the run. Many of which it was his fault, so logically it comes to the expression of denied pleasure(happiness) that eventually starve him aka kill him.
101 Christian SymbolismChristian symbolism: A long with the general amount of symbols of crucifixes and churches accompanied by the fact the Hightower was a priest. Joe Christmas becomes a symbol himself as his name Christmas refers to Jesus Christ, becoming the dubious Christ figure of the novel. alluring the readers from his origins as being born from a unwedded woman that at the time should be a virgin, going as far as following in his footsteps, i.e. time in the wilderness and relations with a prostitute. Joe excluded there also is the sheep's introduction during the hunt, a bloody sacrifice for joe's sexual urges referencing to Christ being a shepherd (sheep) and a woman's menstrual cycle (blood) sacrificing any good nature in Joe and becoming the foil of Jesus as he follows a different road.
102 Where there’s smoke there’s fire symbolism Where there's smoke there's fire symbolism: What is also present in Light in August is the choice of fire. Going with the phrase were there's smoke there's fire, the most evident is Mrs. Burdens house fire. As it was only the smoke first mentioned before any actual realization of the fire itself just like the ill omen was naturally followed by the gruesome murder. Smoke becoming a signal of warning and often used to distribute messages i.e. moss code tells the reader at the very beginning the up incoming fire throughout Jefferson.