2 About the Author: Basic Details • Faulkner was born on 25 September 1897. • he came from an old Southern family and grew up in Oxford, Mississippi even though he was born in New Albany, Mississippi.• He had a few trips to Europe and Asia• William Faulkner died on July 6, 1962 from a heart attack.He joined the Canadian, and later the British, Royal Air Force during the First World War. Faulkner also studied for a whileat the University of Mississippi.
3 About the Author: Interesting facts Faulkner temporarily worked for a New York bookstore and a New Orleans newspaper and had a few brief stays in Hollywood as a scriptwriter.• During World War I, when Faulkner was trying to get into the Royal Air Force in Canada (he was too short for the Americans), he changed the spelling of his name so it would look more English. Faulkner did join the RAF, but never made it overseas.• Faulker was preceded as Nobel Laureate by T.S. Eliot (1948) and followed by Bertrand Russell (1950).• He is regarded as one of America's most influential fiction writers Faulkner’s work is known for its long, winding sentences and complex allusions, and for its use of the literary devices of Modernism such as stream-of-consciousness narration, multiple unreliable narrators, and non-chronological plot construction. Along with Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams, Faulkner is often considered one of the most important writers in the history of the American South.
4 ThemesIsolation: All of the predominant characters in this novel are isolated in one way or another from society. Lena Grove is frowned upon by society for being pregnant before getting married, and even though the people are nice to her they secretly judge her; Reverend Gail Hightower is ignored by his community; Joanna Burden is isolated due to her ancestors, and by the fact that she, unlike most everyone else in the town, is not a racist, but rather works to help African-Americans. Lastly, Joe Christmas is isolated from society in that no one, not even he, knows his past or place in societyBurden of the Past: Each character has a past that they struggle to overcome. Lena is a naïve young girl, who will not admit that her baby’s father purposefully never sent for her. Rev. Hightower has to deal with the fact that his wife cheated on him and that he lost his one true passion, which was the church. In chapter 20 we also learn how Rev. Hightower feels he grew up with three phantoms: his father, his mother, and the negro cook.Struggle for Identity: Joe Christmas seems to have the hardest time of all finding his own identity. He never knew his parents since he was left on the orphanage’s doorstep. His racial background is also ambiguios. Sexuality: Christmas has a hard time accepting women and trusting them. His first experience was with the dietician at the orphanage, who he associates with toothpaste and vomit. Ms. Burden and Christmas go through different phases of their relationship, with it tragically ending with Christmas killing her.
5 Themes- cont.Racism: This novel is set in the South (Mississippi) shortly after the Civil War. Most white men and woman still refer to African-Americans as “niggers” and treat them poorly. Joanna Burden and her family have been isolated, and her grandfather and half-brother even killed, over supporting the black race. Mr. Hines, although dependent on negro women bringing him and his wife food, preaches about the white superiority in negro services. The fact that Joe Christmas is part African-American makes his murder of Ms. Burden, a white woman, seem even worse to the eyes of the townspeople. The citizensof Mottstown even said “…and the nigger acting like a nigger for the first time and taking it, not saying anything…” referring to Christmas being caught and beaten. The racism shown throughout the novel also ties with the characters’ hypocrisy of religion.Religion (and the hypocrisy thereof): This novel has a large overarching theme of religion, whether it is hypocritical or genuine. Hightower was the reverend of Jefferson, but his sermons were a little too radical for the townspeople and after the incident with his wife, the church shunned him and made him leave, an act that in itself does not seem very holy. Mr. McEachern, Christmas’ foster father, was supposedly a very religious man, but beat Christmas often. Mr. Hines, as well, would preach sermons victimizing blacks. The citizens of Jefferson would constantly gossip and isolate others, such as Rev. Hightower, Mrs. Burden and Lena, even though they had done nothing against them. They might be “holy” people, but their actions show differently.
6 Faulkner's Style written in third person – intimate, personal, immediate approach to issues and people.no external explanation from the anonymous third person-heightens tension, adds to immediacy of work, allows for focus on specifics and uncertainty rather than summary and absolutism. (Ch. 12, P 283 – 287, gun, two bullets & significance therein)Three voices of personal speaking that emphasize-“Spoken, external quotes”-‘shallow, conscious and formulated thoughts’-Personal, stream of conscious, spontaneous reactions and assumptions – what is too bad to say or think.(Pages. 77-8, “Well…least.”, 215, “He…least,” “The…Jam”)
7 Style cont.Faulkner demonstrates connection to the world in strong emphasis on surface, everyday details, such as dew, food, clothing, hair, especially trees – effect of being pieced together by several viewpoints rather than an overarching one – immediacy effect.-(P. 206, Para 2, “Still…mules.”)crafted to be extremely individual-specific approach – events happen as characters of focus see themconstrained by person in question; events, (Burden fire), can take half book to be entirely revealed & explained. (Ch 1, Ch 4, Ch 12)Periodic/ journalistic – most poignant information about characters (Burden, Hightower, Christmas) revealed in a tense and occasionally tedious chronological fashion – situational occurrences revealed by time in stark, deeply emotional way.-(P. 286, “Then…me.’”)
8 Style cont.Character behavior rich in allusions, as are character names, which suggest personality. (Birch, Bunch, Christmas, Hightower, etc.)names and actions subtly metaphorical for biblical occurrences.-Ch. 1 Lena’s arrival/suspicion of twins = Mary’ arrival in Nazareth, Idea of Christ being part god/part man, as Christmas is part white/part black.-Ch. 5 Christmas’ ordeal in wilderness = Christ’s 40 day desert trial-Ch. 7 Joe’s shed fight = Christ’s ordeal in the temple-Ch Joe’s brief interlude from society from Friday to Monday = Christ’s interlude form the world for three days after crucifixion.
9 Essay: 1981Prompt- The meaning of some literary works is often enhanced by sustained allusion to myths, the Bible, or other works of literature. Select a literary work that makes use of such a sustained reference. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain the allusion that predominates in the work and analyze how it enhances the work’s meaning.Opening Paragraph- William Faulkner’s, Light in August, portrays several biblical allusions throughout the novel. There are many specific references to the Bible such as Lena Grove and Joe Christmas’s characters similarities to Mary and Christ. The most prominent connections can be seen in Joe’s character in instances such as sacrificing the lamb and the washing of his feet. These allusions as well as several others contribute to understanding the importance and personal commentary Faulkner has regarding religion.
10 Essay: 1979Opening Paragraph- Light in August, by William Faulkner portrays a disturbed character by the name of Joe Christmas. This man has performed many acts of violence and has the reoccurring theme of death in his life but, one can not help but feel sympathy for him because of his upbringing. Faulkner describes in detail Christmas’s troubled life as a child and as he has grown up which aids in understanding the person he has become. Although in many other circumstances his actions would be seen as evil it can be comprehended that he is just a product of a corrupt childhood.Prompt- Choose a complex and important character in a novel or a play of recognized literary merit who might on the basis of the character’s actions alone be considered evil or immoral. In a well-organized essay, explain both how and why the full presentation of the character in the work makes us react more sympathetically than we otherwise might. Avoid plot summary.
11 Essay: 1986Prompt- Some works of literature use the element of time in a distinct way. The chronological sequence of events may be altered, or time may be suspended or accelerated. Choose a novel, an epic, or a play of recognized literary merit and show how the author’s manipulation of time contributes to the effectiveness of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.Opening Paragraph- William Faulkner is renowned for his unique writing style which he exhibits in his novel, Light in August. In this story he changes the usual time of events and goes back and forth through the town’s and characters own personal histories. Through this method of writing he is able to highlight key events which have important roles to the layout of the story and understanding the individuals lives. This creates complexity in the characters as well as depth and meaning to the overall story.
12 Connections to HTRLLPThe occurrence of Violence in Light in August is mainly centered around thecharacter of Joe Christmas, whether he is the victim (early ages) or the perpetrator. InChristmas’ childhood scenes of violence continuously occur where there should have beenkindness and later that leaves him a cold person. The violence portrayed in Christmas’ earlylife from McEachern are perpetrated through religion, thus showing a strong connection ofthe dangers apparent in such strong organized religion.Later the violence that Joe Christmas inflicts is a hidden meaning of struggle foridentity and possibly misogyny. Christmas has continual outrages throughout the novel (amajor one is his church incident) about the mystery of his heritage. In HTRLLP, Fosterstates, “with Faulkner the violence is historically conditioned...Class, welfare, racism...allfigure in the violence.” (pg. 94)One of Joe’s first violent actions is that of beating Bobbie, which seems to show his hatredof woman and the fact that they are unpredictable.A huge act of violence is at the end when Percy Grimm shoots Christmas five times, thencastrates him. This reflects the racial and misogynist violence in the old South. Joe’s deathat the end of the novel also portrays a glimpse of redemption. “...who suffers emasculationat the novel’s end...his life and death have to do with the possibility of redemption.”(HTRLLP pg. 95)
13 Connections cont.On the surface of connecting Joe Christmas to a Christ-like figure one can simplelook at his name, Christmas, or even his initials J.C. Other connections also correlateChristmas to a Christ figure. Foster lists that Christ figures may have: “wounds in hands,feet, or head, 2) in agony, 6) thirty years of age when last seen, 11) known to have spenttime in wilderness, unmarried, and/or have been tempted.” (pg ) The character ofJoe Christmas connects to at least most of the above mentioned. In a stretch one could saythat Christmas was injured in the head in a mental sense of being broken and cold hearted,obviously Joe is in agony the entire novel in which he struggles with his own identity andrace. Christmas is killed in his early thirties by the end of the novel, and in chapters 13-15 of Light in August; Joe is running and hiding in the wilderness from the police, andalso possibly himself. Through his wandering in the woods Joe eventually comes to accepthimself. He never marries, or even has any real feeling for a woman after Bobbie, thoughit could be argued for Joanna Burden. Foster states that not all Christ figures have to begood or even fit all the qualifications, but “perhaps the parallel deepens our sense of thecharacters sacrifice.”Other connections to a Christ figure can be found on pages 185 and 166 in LIA whereJoe Christmas “sacrifices” the sheep, and his feet are washed.
14 Connections cont.Acts of eating together and mainly just the mention of food continuously occurthroughout the novel LIA. Throughout the novel Joe Christmas either passionately refusesor accepts food from women.In the beginning, Bobbie is associated with food. Christmas meets Bobbie in a diner,and then he orders pie, etc. According to Foster “acts of communion (although Bobbie andChristmas may not be eating together, she is associated with food, and Joe’s act of eating)constitutes a shared experience...consuming desire.” Joe’s associated of Bobbie and food is his first real connection with a person of the opposite sex, and thus symbolizes Joe’s need for nourishment and desire. He wants to share his life and his secrets with someone else, and he confides in Bobbie because she is trustworthy in his mind. Later in the novel Joe loses his hunger yet still eats because he feels he has to in order to feel, or be a person. Joe’s eating with Joanna Burden is not only an act of desperate belongingness, but also shows Joe’s own “tension and conflict” running through him. (HTRLLP pg. 13) When Joanna Burden feeds him he feels they have control over him and in the end, when he stops eating, it is the first time he is able to control his life and control his own identity struggle.
15 Chapter 1: Plot & Character Developments The novel starts our with Lena Grove, one of the main characters, looking for the man who impregnated her, who is Lucas Burch. William Faulkner show his technique of using flashbacks by showing a bit of Lena’s past, of living with her brother and his family, and how they found out about her pregnancy with a bachelor that left around six months ago. “The sister-in-law told the brother. Then he remarked her changing shape, which he should have noticed some time before....He called her a whore.”(pg. 6) Lena seems to show courage, leaving her home to go on a journey to find the father of her child so she can marry him. Yet she seems to be naive, thinking that they both will get married as soon as she finds him.
16 Ch 1: QuotesLena doesn’t seem to like being in the debt of other. “I wouldn’t be beholden, she says” (pg. 14) Yet she accepts Mrs. Armstid’s egg money given by Mr. Armstid. Both Mr. and Mrs. Armstid seem to doubt that Burch will agree to marry though Mr. Armstid seem to admire her guts. “Maybe she will. If it’s running away from her she’s after, I reckon he’s going to find out he made a bad mistake when he stopped before he put the Mississippi River between him.” (pg. 16) Martha Armstid is the one who seems to think that Lena is wasting her time. “Mrs. Armstid watches the lowered face. Her hand are on her hips and she watches the younger woman with an expression of cold and impersonal contempt. Though Mr. Armstid had just known Lena for almost one day, he still shows kindness to her. “any time you are passing back this way, tomorrow or even tonight......” (pg. 24) He also shows more hope that Lena will find Burch instead of his wife Martha. “I reckon he knows more than even Martha does, like when she told Martha last night about how the Lord will see that what is right will get done.”
17 Chapter 2: SummaryThe chapter opens with Byron Bunch remembering the day three years ago when Joe Christmas came to the planning mill in Jefferson. Christmas begins living in a run-down cottage owned by one Miss Burden, where he makes and sells illegal whiskey. Byron Bunch continues by remembering the day six months ago when Joe Brown also came to the mill and started working with Joe Christmas. Eventually, Christmas quits his job at the mill, and Brown and Christmas were seen driving around in a new car. One Saturday, a fire breaks out at the Burden residence. Bunch, the only one working at the mill that day, sees smoke rising from the house. Bunch is interrupted when Lena Grove comes into the mill and asks for one “Lucas Burch.” Byron tells her that there is no Burch, and that she must be looking for “Bunch.” Lena tells Byron her story, and Byron tells Lena about the two Joes – when Lena asks about Joe Brown’s white scar, Byron Bunch realizes that Joe Brown and Lucas Burch are the same person.
18 Ch 2: Plot Development & Themes Plot Development: We learn that Lucas Burch and Joe Brown are the same person. Byron Bunch falls in love with Lena Grove.Themes of Perception: In this chapter, Faulkner really makes his first comment on southern society. Joe Christmas is characterized as a “foreigner” by the town just because of his name. Gail Hightower is a character who is trapped in his own home by the assumptions of the town. Faulkner comments on the superficiality of American society at this time with the assumptions the people of Jefferson make about strangers.
19 Ch 2: Quotes “His name is what?” one said. “Christmas.” “Is he a foreigner?”“Did you ever hear of a white man named Christmas?” the foreman said.”“Then one Saturday night she got killed, in a house or something in Memphis. Papers full of it. Hehad to resign from the church, but he wouldn’t leave Jefferson, for some reason. They tried to gethim to, for his own sake as well as the town’s, the church’s. That was pretty bad on the church,you see. Having strangers come here and hear about it, and him refusing to leave the town. But hewouldn’t go away.”““Joe Brown,” she says. “Has he got a little white scar right here by his mouth?”And he cannot look at her, and he sits there on the stacked lumber when it is too late, and hecould have bitten his tongue in two.”
20 Chapter 3: Quotes“Then Hightower came. The reporters tried to stop him but he walked rightthrough them and into the church and up into the pulpit. The old ladies and someof the old men were already in the church, horrified and outraged, not so muchabout the Memphis business as about the presence of the reporters. But whenHightower came in and actually went up into the pulpit, they forgot about thereporters even.”This quote is significant because it demonstrates Hightower’s character as adetermined man with much perseverance. He is strong willed, and does not wishto succumb to all of the drama of the reporters, regarding his wife.“Byron bunch,” he says. “In town on Sunday night. Byron Bunch in town onSunday.”This quote is significant because it provides evidence for major plot and characterdevelopment. It leaves the end of the chapter with a major hook, because ByronBunch is never in town on Sundays, so it leaves the reader wondering why he hasdecided to show up at Hightower’s door. It also says something about hischaracter developing too. He is wiling to step out of his own boundaries, and trynew things.
21 Ch 3: Themes and POV • Theme: The burdens of the past – Hightower’s past catches up with him, driving him to isolation.His adulteress wife that he had tried to keepa secret, was exposed, ruining Hightower’sreputation.• Theme: The isolation of the individual –Hightower secludes himself involuntarily from therest of the town, living with shame and remorsefor what his wife did to him.• POV is third person.
22 Ch 4: Plot and character development • Character development - Hightower is introducedand the complexities of his past are introduced.Byron Bunch unexpectedly shows up in town on aSunday, which is rare for him, allowing the reader tounderstand that he is willing to push his own limitsand go to extremes if after a certain thing.• Plot development – A new plot line is introduced withReverend Hightower. His story is told, and his pastexposed. Lena Grove doesn’t appear much in thischapter, however the connection between Hightowerand Lena is Byron in this particular chapter, whohappens to show up towards the end of the chapter.
23 Chapter 4: Significant Quotes • “And he said how if she could just have done that when she was alive, she might not have been doing it now.” – Byron Bunch, in reference to a man making a cruel joke about the nearly-decapitated Miss Burden.• “Accuse the white man and let the nigger go free. Accuse the white and let the nigger run” – Joe Brown, in reference to being accused of a crime that he claims was committed by Joe Christmas.• “Is it certain, proved, that he has Negro blood? Think, Byron; what it will mean when the people – if they catch…Poor man. Poor mankind.” – Gail Hightower, in reference to the town learning of Joe Christmas’ true heritage.
24 Ch 4: Plot Development• Byron Bunch goes to Reverend Gail Hightower to tell him that he placed a woman named Lena Grove in a boardinghouse. Lena is looking for the father of her unborn child, who Bunch suspects to be Joe Brown. Brown was living with Joe Christmas in a cabin on the property of Miss Burden, until the property burned down recently. Burden was found decapitated, and Brown claims that the murderer is Christmas. Brown is then placed in custody, but Byron neglects to tell Lena because he has fallen for her.
25 Ch 4: Character Development • Joe Brown rats out his friend for a $1000 reward because of his greedy nature.• Byron Bunch takes in and looks after Lena Grove because of his compassionate nature.• Gail Hightower listens to Byron’s story and offers him advice because of his charitablenature.
26 Ch 4: Point of View & Themes Themes: love, guilt, religious hypocrisy.POV: Third person omniscient, with Byron Bunch narrating most of the chapter to ReverendGail Hightower.
27 Chapter 5: SummaryThe chapter begins with Joe Christmas not being able to sleep and then getting into a scuffle with Joe Brown after he comes into the cabin loud and drunk and makes some racial slurs. Christmas beats him until he stops laughing then smokes and goes and curses Miss Burden outside her home. At this point Christmas takes off his clothes by the road and as a car goes by a women yells and Christmas curses her as well. He then puts his clothes on and decides to sleep in the stables. When he awakes he decides to walk around and walks through all parts of town and the trails in the woods by town. When he finishes this he encounters a group of black folk and proceeds to try and walk through them. When they get out of his way and leave him he realizes that this whole time he had been holding a knife in his hand. From here he walks back to Miss Burden’s house and sits there in the dark until the clock strikes three. Then he thinks that something bad is going to happen to him.
28 Ch 5: Quotes“He could see the printed sentence, fullborn and already dead God loves me like the faded and weathered letters on a last years billboard God loves me too” -This quote shows that Christmas has some connection to Christianity. It also shows how his past is having a direct connection in the way he is evaluating the things that happen to him “It’s because they are not women. Even a mare horse is a kind of man” -It shows how Christmas despises not just women, but everything and anything that’s womanly “She ought not to started praying over me” -The use of repetition shows his style of trying to relate to a reader the characters true emotions. This quote also shows the theme of religion and how he despises it so.“Something is going to happen. Something is going to happen to me” -The forth quote shows foreshadowing in the story and expands a readers view of Christmas
29 Ch 5: ThemesRace & class: this chapter as it shows Brown calling Christmas the N word and saying essentially that he can’t hurt Brown because he’s part black. The way Christmas treats the black people on the road also comments on how he even feels a higher class then these people.Religion is touched on as a theme in this chapter as he continually curses the fact the he was prayed for.Gender is evident as he comments on women being less then man, saying even horses are better because they are manlier. He screams at the women who drives by and sees him naked and yells that she’s not the first of her kind to see him, this shows that he disrespects women because he stood there and let her see him and then didn’t even try to leave when he knew she saw him.
30 We learn that Brown is controlled, abused by Christmas We learn that Brown is controlled, abused by Christmas .We learn that Christmas is scared of relationships, he is afraid of being loved. He has a strong dislike of females or anything women like. We learn that Christmas is part African-American. It seems in this chapter that Christmas is driven by hysteria. He has a past that is obviously bothering him throughout the chapter and causing him to act crazy. He also has a strong dislike for being prayed over or being related to religion. These things help display Christmas’s struggle to find an identity and acceptance.In this chapter we are able to confirm that Christmas and Brown do live together and do run rum as a job. We also confirm that Christmas is part black. The plot thickens as we learn that Christmas seems to be going mad, and is an abusive person who explodes when angered. Christmas also expresses his anger toward Miss Burden.
31 Ch 5: POV & StyleStyle: He also makes the characters' important thoughts evident by italicizing them. He chooses to make time pass extremely quickly to relate the way that Christmas is thinking. He makes a comment of the social structure with Christmas in this chapter as he is halfway between white and black so he cannot fit in, showing the distance between the two groupsPOV: This chapter is told in the 3rd person omnificent view and through that of Joe Christmas
32 Chapter 6: Quotes"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders." This quote opens chapter 6, and reflects on a heavy theme throughout the novel: the past and our memory of it. Faulkner uses this chapter to reflect on a memory Joe Christmas has that helps the reader attempt to understand Joe as a character. Why he is the way he is, and what causes him to make the decisions he does can be shown through this story and how his childhood was as a whole. Faulkner's use of memories and addressing the past provide insight into what is happening in the story in the present."In the quiet and empty corridor, during the quiet hour of early afternoon, he was like a shadow, small even for five years, sober and quiet as a shadow." The quote found in the second paragraph of chapter 6, is referring to Joe Christmas as a little boy. Through Faulkner's language, he is able to comment upon the theme of isolation. Words like 'quiet,' 'shadow,' 'empty,' in describing the scene, the reader infers that Joe was alone even as a little boy. Different characters throughout the book are isolated from society, and Joe's story in chapter 6 shows he is not an exception to the theme.
33 This photo is representing the part of the chapter in which Christmas wonders if God loves him just as he had seen it on a billboard sign, like the one shown above
34 Ch 6: Plot & Character Development This nostalgic chapter sets up the events that take place in regards to Joe for the rest of the book. The plot doesn't develop due to the backtracking of time, but rather the character of Joe develops. Chapter 6 allows a closer look at who Joe is and what motivated his personality as he has grown. This important chapter justifies his actions in a way due to him being an orphan and being isolated and poorly treated.
35 Ch 6: Point of ViewChapter 6 is told from a point of view of third person limited. Faulkner allows the reader to see the different aspects of the situation, and we are able to see what the characters reactions to the events are. The narrator does not tell us however what any of the characters thought process is completely, and there are still some things left to be determined or infer.
36 Chapter 7 Setting- - The McEachern's farm Important Characters- -Joe Christmas- young, naïve, distrusting of women, stubborn (at this time 17 or 18) -Mr. McEachern- devout, strict, reliable -Mrs. McEachern- loving, motherly, submissiveImportant Events-- Whipped because he can’t remember the catechisms- Refuses the food from Mrs. McEachern, eats it off the floor “like a dog”- Joe beats the young, negro woman in the shed- Mr. McEachern finds the suit hidden in the barn that Joe bought by selling his calf- Mrs. McEachern tells her husband that she paid for the suit to help Joe- Flashback to when Joe was first adopted§ Mrs. McEachern washes his feet and puts him to bed
37 Ch 7: Quotes - “On this day I became a man.” (page 146) - “…and above the outraged food kneeling, with his hands ate, like a savage, like a dog” (page 155)- “Kneel down, woman. Ask grace and pardon of God; not of me.” (page 165)- “It was the woman: the soft kindness which he believed himself doomed to be forever victim of and which he hated worse that he did the hard and ruthless justice of men.” (page 169)Important Themes-- punishment, consequences ( Joe’s whippings)- the inferiority and submissiveness of women (Mrs. McEachern being ignored by her husband and Joe)- The presence of v. lack of a motherly figure ( foot washing scene)
38 Chapter 8: Summary & Development Chapter 8 focuses on Joe and his painful past. The chapter shows, through his memory, how Joe was made cold and bleak. Also, this chapter introduces Joe’s lack of morals. Joe: -escapes through his window and puts on his suit in the barn-avoids town because he is sexually attracted to the waitress. -devotes himself to hard work & earns a calf, which he sells to buy a suit to impress Bobbie-But his difficulty with women and menstruation causes him to abuse her-The next time he goes to see her, he sees Bobbie entertaining another man and goes into a jealous rage, hitting and insulting her.
39 Ch 8: Quotes“He found the flock in a hidden valley and stalked and killed one with the gun. Then he knelt, his hands in the yet warm blood of the dying beast, trembling, dry-mouthed, backglaring. Then he got over it, recovered. He did not forget what the boy had told him. He just accepted it. He found that he could live with it, side by side with it.” PgThis quote further solidifies Joe as a Christ figure, sacrificing the lamb. The killing of the lamb is his way of showing his faith in God and to cleanse himself of the knowledge of sin. In this case, Joe’s sin is his relationship with Bobbie. Redemption was achieved when he washed his hands in the blood of the lamb. In Joe’s mind, he has saved himself from life. He also learns that he can live “side by side” with women’s menstruation.“… and the waitress with her demure and downlooking face and her big, too big, hands setting the plates and cups, her head rising from beyond the counter at about the height of a tall child.”This quote is describing Bobbie, the waitress. Not only is Bobbie’s name masculine, but so are her hands. Joe does not associate with girls or women. This is seen in the fact that he does not form a real relationship with his stepmother and only associates girls with church, seen in the quote “He saw girls only at church, on Sunday. They were associated with Sunday and with church. So he could not notice them.” Therefore, the fact that Bobbie has masculine attributes comforts Joe. This is why Joe eventually falls in love with her. This also may be why Joe continually beats her. He does not see Bobbie as a woman, but as a man to fight with when he/she has wronged Joe. However, there is another view that Joe is misogynistic and that is why he avoids relationships with women and beats Bobbie.
40 Ch 8: Themes & SymbolsUrns- Urns represent the shape of women, and more specifically Lena. With her belly swollen from her pregnancy, her shape can be described as urn-like.Memory- for Joe in this chapter, memory is dominated by shame, pain, and humiliation. Also, it is his experiences and his memory of those experiences that shaped him into the man he became, cold and inhuman.
41 Ch 8: Character Development Chapter 8 focuses on Joe and his painful past. The chapter shows, through his memory, how Joe was made cold and bleak. Also, this chapter introduces Joe’s lack of moral. He begins a sexual relationship, begins to steal, and receives his first taste of alcohol.
42 Chapter 9: Summary & Development Major EventsMcEachern discovers that Joe has been sneaking out of the house and follows him.Joe hits McEachern over the head with a chair and kills himJoe proposes to Bobbie but she declines in an angry manner~Plot Development~The plot is changing at this point. Bobbie is against Joe and McEachern is now dead. Joe is being mistreated for his black blood.~Character Development~Joe learns more about women and about how they can’t fully be relied on. Bobbie displays a side of herself that hasn’t yet been seen before. The blonde woman shows a new side of her personality as she stands up for Joe when he’s receiving the beating saying “I said that will do” trying to stop them from doing further harm.
43 Ch 9: Quotes“Then to Joe it all rushed away, roaring, dying, leaving him in the center of the floor, the shattered chair clutched in his hand, looking down at his adopted father.” pg 205-This quote shows Joe’s past and his life at his foster family’s home coming to an end. The man who has governed over his every move is now dead and Joe is set free.This quote shows the details that Faulkner ass in his writings by using words such as roaring to help add the dramatic feeling of the scene.“ Why I committed murder for her. I even stole for her.”-This quote shows Joe’s thoughts about how the relationship with Bobbie has ended. He feels defeated and like he has been misused because he feels he did so much for Bobbie for her to turn on him. Faulkner’s style is shown in this quote through his stream of consciousness style of writing, and being able to portray the conscious and unconscious thoughts of his characters.
44 Ch 9: Themes & POVThe destruction of the past- One of the themes in this chapter could be how the past and the events that were in the past can cause damaging actions in the future such as the death of McEachern.Another theme could be the evil of women. In Joe’s eyes he has placed much of his life in being with Bobbie then he asks her to marry him and she rejects in an angered and rude manner showing Joe that he can’t even count on the one whom he believed loved him back.PoV: The point of view in this chapter is 3rd person omniscient. This is because its’ an outside voice telling the story but also gives insight on the character’s thoughts both conscious and unconscious as well as direct quotes from them.
46 Chapter 10: SummaryThe chapter starts of describing Joe Christmas and his surroundings as he is slowly waking up from his beating. The italicized words in the beginning of this chapter represent the conversations those around him are having as he is waking up. After completely waking up, Joe begins his long journey throughout the United States. The book specifically mentions from Chicago, Detroit, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Mexico. Throughout his journey, he avoids paying prostitutes by not telling them he’s black; however, he stops doing this after a woman doesn’t care whether or not he is black. After stopping at Jefferson, he finds out about Miss Burden’s property through a young local boy. He decides to move into the abandoned cabin, and one day he sneaks into Miss Burden’s house in order to steal some food. Miss Burden walks in, and allows him to eat the food.
47 Ch 10: Quotes“Like the cat, he also seemed to see in the darkness as he moved as unerringly toward the food which he wanted as if he knew where it would be; that, or were being manipulated by an agent which did know. He ate something from an invisible dish, with invisible fingers: invisible food. He did not care what it would be. He did not know that he had even wondered or tasted until his jaw stopped suddenly in mid-chewing and thinking fled for twenty-five years back down the street, past all the imperceptible corners of bitter defeats and more bitter victories, and five miles even beyond a corner where he used to wait in the terrible early time of love, for someone whose name he had forgot.”
48 Ch 10: Themes Lost, curious, searching: -Throughout this chapter, Joe Christmas is accepted and rejected by blacks and whites. This leads to confusion for Christmas, who does not know what he is, and now does not know where his place in society is.
49 Chapter 11: Significant Quotes “Remember this. Your grandfather and brother are lying there, murdered notby one 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 for itssins.” (Page 252)Joanna’s statement about blacks shows an insight into how poorly they were treated andadds Faulkner’s negative comments about racism.“You must struggle, rise. But in order to rise, you must raise the shadow with you.But you can never lift it to your level. … But escape it you cannot. The curse ofthe black race is God’s curse. But the curse of the white race is the black man whowill be forever God’s chosen own because He once cursed him.” (Page 253)To Joanna, the only way to remove the curse of being black is to become a better memberof society, and you have to acknowledge your own skin color [curse].
50 Ch 11: Themes & POVThemes: Christmas is still unable to interact appropriately with women, and his forcefulrelationship with Joanna is yet another example of this. However, through their sharedrace (black), they are able to have some sort of minute connection.POV: This chapter is told from a third-person limited point of view, and focuses on Christmas and Joanna and their relationship.
51 Ch 11: Plot & Character Development Christmas’s inability to understand women is emphasized in this chapter by hiscontinual forcefulness and practical rape of Joanna when he makes love to her, asshe hardly puts up resistance, effectively consenting to it.Christmas’s rejection of the food offered by Joanna parallels his rejection of hisadopted mother’s in its violence and misunderstanding of women.Joanna talks about the generations of blacks buried on her property, includingher brother and uncle who were killed by Colonel Sartoris fighting over blacksuffrage.Christmas reveals that he believes that one of his biological parents was black.
52 Chapter 12: Plot Developments The complextiy of Joe & Joanna Burden's relationship is revealed in 3 phrases:-Phase 1: Full of passion, “honeymoon” phase—compared to a person snowed outside of a house trying to get in.-Phase 2: The two begin to drift apart, and Joe feels as though Miss Burden has two different identities and personalities- day/night- compared to him being in a pit of “hot wild darkness”-Phase 3: compared to being in an open plain without snow, wind, or the house (isolated, detached) the couple hardly see each other anymoreMiss Burden tells Joe that she wants a baby, and then informs him four months later that she is pregnant, against his wishesJoe “had begun to sell a little whiskey…” (pg.261) – when Joe Christmas started his bootlegging businessMiss Burden asks Joe to take over her business and speak to colored schools; Joe is offended and beats herMiss Burden attempts to kill Joe and herself, but Joe is able to take the heavy and old cap and ball revolver from herJoe unknowingly threatens two teenagers while he is waving a gun in his hand while trying to flag down the car after leaving Miss Burden’s
53 Ch 12: POV & ThemesPOV: Third person omniscient; however, chapter mainly focuses on Joe ChristmasThemes:Finding ones identity- both Miss Burden and Joe Christmas struggle with being outsiders in a society, but by finding each other they no longer feel as isolatedDesire for power/control: Miss Burden and Joe Christmas both want to have the upper hand in their relationship, Miss Burden acts very indifferent and independent, unlike the stereotypical woman in a relationshipWomen: Joe’s feelings for women play a large role in this chapter , especially when Miss Burden announces she is pregnant as he displays his disgust for all things related to women or maternal figuresReligion: Miss Burden asks Joe several times to kneel with her (pg. 282, “For the last time I don’t ask it. Remember that. Kneel with me.”) it is another example of the important role religion played in the south, but also displays hypocritical morals.
54 Ch 12: QuotesPg 259 “When he did not and lied to her, he would find that she had already set traps to catch him in the lie; she cried, wept.”-Throughout the novel “crying” symbolizes the disappointment and confusion of a character. This quote accurately portrays the complicated relationship Joe and Miss Burden shared, and the shifts in moods and personalities that Miss Burden experienced during their different relationship “phases.”Pg.270 “I know that what makes a fool is an inability to take even his own advice.-reveals Joe Christmas’ opinion ( and feeling of superiority) towards his new companion, Joe Brown.
56 Chapter 13: Quotes & Themes Themes: Isolation of Hightower, darkness, prayer, marriage, blind trust of authority figures, race Pg. 289: “She had lived such a quiet life, attended so to her own affairs, that she bequeathed to the town in which she had been born and lived and died a foreigner, an outlander, a kind of heritage of astonishment and outrage, for which, even though she had supplied them at last with an emotional barbeque, a Roman holiday almost, they would never forgive her and let her be dead in peace and quiet. Not that. Peace is not that often.pg.290: “ And the women came too, the idle ones in bright and sometimes hurried garments, with secret and passionate and glittering looks and with secret frustrated breast (who have ever loved death better than peace) to print with a myraid small hard heels to the constant murmur Who did it? Who did it? Periods such as perhaps Is he still free? Ah. Is he? Is he?”
57 Ch 13: DevelopmentsPlot: People start to gather around the Buren house and around the dead body of Miss Burden as the sheriff arrives. The house eventually burns down completely because there is no supply of water to put the fire out with the body of Miss Burden is sent away by the sheriff. The deputy tells the sheriff that somebody has been living in the cabin recently and the sheriff questions a black man about who has been living in the cabin there. The black man eventually admits that there have been two white men living in the cabin and another man states that their names are Joe Christmas and Joe Brown. Miss Burden’s nephew from New Hampshire soon contacts the town offering a $1000 reward for the capture of Miss Burden’s murderer. Joe Brown then comes into talk to the sheriff and to collect the $1000 reward but until Christmas is found he is not allowed to collect any of the reward money. Character: In Chapter 13 we especially see development in the character of Byron Bunch and Hightower. In Hightower we start to see how the past has ultimately led to his decline and how it is haunted him for all of these years.
59 Chapter 14 PlotLena, while waiting for Lucas Burch/Joe Brown, decides to stay at his house until he returns, the sheriff lets her stay there thinking she won’t cause any harm.The Sheriff finds out that Joe Christmas has been seen in a black church causing a scene and assaulting several of its members and cursed god, he hit the minister’s son out cold and then had a cigarette and left.Joe Brown gets lost and is starving; he begins to eat worms and other unspeakable things to survive. He vaguely remembers a black family feeding him and helping him get to Mottstown.
60 Chapter 14 Significant Quotes “I have never got outside, I have never broken out of the ring of what I’ve already done and cannot undo”“He thinks that perhaps, sitting, with the wagon’s motion to lull him, he will sleep. But he does not sleep. He is not sleepy or hungry or even tired. He is somewhere between and among them, suspended, swaying to the motion of the wagon without thought, without feeling. He has lost account of time and distance; perhaps it is an hour later, perhaps three”“He felt no surprise. Time, the spaces of light and dark, had long since lost orderliness. It would be either one now, seemingly at an instant, between two movements of the eyelids, without warning. He could never know when he would pass from one to the other, when he would find that he had been asleep without remembering having lain down, or find himself walking without remembering having waked.”
61 Chapter 14 Themes and Point of View Joe Christmas as a Christ figure:When Joe causes a ruckus in the church it could relate to when Jesus overturns the tables in front of the church and causes mayhem similar to the one created by Joe Christmas.Joe struggled in the wilderness before he got to Mottstown, like Jesus suffered in the desert before he went into Jerusalem.Point of view:Most of this chapter is from the perspective of the sheriff, because he is told about Lena and Joe Christmas through outside characters and that is ultimately how we learn. This external view only shows us their actions not emotions and thoughts.Joe Brown’s EthnicityThroughout the novel we assume Joe Christmas is black because that is what he tells everyone but the witness from the church reported Joe ad white.Religion:McCeachern’s violence coupled with religion causes Joe to associate violence with religion which probably caused his attack on the church.
62 Chapter 15 Plot Character development Plot Mr. and Mrs. Hines are introduced- Mr. Hines is characterized as a crazy, violent, little man; Mrs. Hines, a short, dumpy, obese, patient woman.PlotChristmas arrives in Mottstown in “broad daylight… [goes] into a white barbershop… and [buys] a new shirt and a tie and a straw hat” ( )Christmas is captured in Mottstown on Saturday Morning ( )Christmas is taken back to Jefferson for his “trial”The Hines’ plan to go to Jefferson by train
63 Chapter 15 Significant Quotes “The town looked upon both of them as being a little touched- lonely, gray in color, a little smaller than most other men and women, as if they belonged to a different race, species…” (pg 341)“He went into a white barbershop like a white man, and because he looked like a white man they never suspected him.” (pg 349)“It was like he never knew he was a murderer, let alone a nigger too” (pg 350)“I want to see that man they caught” –Mrs. Hines (pg 352)
64 Chapter 15 Themes and Point of View 3rd person limited- creates mystery/suspenseThemes:Man vs. society (prejudices formed against both Christmas and the Hines’)Insanity (Doc’s reaction to Christmas)Secrecy (the Hines’)
65 Chapter 16 Plot This chapter is entirely plot driven. Plot: Byron goes to Hightower’s house to tell him about Joe Christmas’ capture and tells him that Christmas’ grandmother is there in town. Later that night Byron takes Mr. and Mrs. Hines to ask for his help. Mrs. Hines tells Hightower about Christmas’ parents and his birth. Mr. Hines tells about when he took baby Joe after he was born to the orphanage and how he watched him for five years. What Mrs. Hines wants is for them to let Christmas out of jail for one day so that she can spend a little time with him. Byron then asks Hightower to go to the jail and say that Christmas was with him on the night of the murder but he refuses.
66 Chapter 16 Significant Quotes “I am not a man of God. And not through my own desire. Remember that. Not of my own choice that I am no longer a man of God. It was by the will, the more than behest, of them like you and like her and like him in the jail yonder and like them who put him there to do their will upon, as they did upon me, with insult and violence upon those who like them were created by the same God and were driven by them to do that which they now turn and rend them for having done it. It was not my choice. Remember that.” (Hightower) Pg. 365“Because a man ain’t given that many choices.” (Byron) Pg. 365“Yet even then the music has still a quality stern and implacable, deliberate and without passion so much as immolation, pleading, asking, for not love, not for life, forbidding it to others, demanding in sonorous tones death as though death were the boon, like all Protestant music.” Pg. 367“And so why should not their religion drive them to crucifixion of themselves and one another?” (Hightower thinks) Pg. 368“I have put the mark on him and now I am going to put the knowledge.” (“God” talking to Doc Hines) Pg. 371“It’s God’s abomination of womanflesh!” (Doc Hines) Pg. 373“You are worse than that. You don’t know what you are. And more than that, you wont never know. You’ll live and you’ll die and you wont never know.” (gardener) Pg. 384
67 Chapter 16 ThemesIn this chapter the theme of religious hypocrisy is quite evident. Hightower at the beginning of the chapter makes a comment on the way that the music from the nearby church sounds, how they forbid life to others and plead for death.Another theme is the way men in that time period viewed women. Doc Hines refers to women as “the Lord’s abomination” and he makes many more degrading comments about women.
68 Chapter 17 Major Plot Points Lena’s child is bornHightower acts as the stand in doctorThe Hines’ are staying with Lena at the timeMrs. Hines seems to think the baby is Joe ChristmasOld Doc Hines slips off to the jail while Mrs. Hines is asleepByron Bunch fetches Hightower first, and then the doctorLena doesn’t name the babyHightower talks with Lena, encouraging her to let Byron goByron goes to fetch Lucas BurchByron quits his job at the mill
69 Chapter 17 Important Quotes P.393 "Like a fellow running from or toward a gun …what he is doing is courage or cowardice."-This quote speaks to the reasons behind one’s actions. Motives aren’t always distinguishable, but the importance is sometimes in the action itself.P. 395 “There was something else behind it…about to spring full clawed upon him.-The clawed thing is reality and it’s finally about to hit Byron Bunch. His kindness thus far has been driven by his own fantasy of marrying Lena which is why reality will hit hard.P.401 "It was like it was not until Mrs. Hines called me…that I found out that she is not a virgin."-Reality hitsP.410 “She says, too immediately, too easily: I aint named him yet."-Lena is living in a fantasy of her own and doesn’t name her baby because she still hopes Lucas will find her and they will be a married and happy family.P.411 “This does not matter. This is not anything yet. It all depends on what you do with it, afterward."-This speaks to the constant motion one lives in. Lena cannot stop and give up because she’s born a bastard child because the world keeps moving. Therefore what is important is that she does to; that’s what matters.P.411 "You are probably not much that half his age. But you have already outlived him twice over.- Hightower says this Lena. It’s a comment on how life experiences shape a person and their level maturity
70 Chapter 17 Significance and Connection to Themes Connections to Theme:The end/beginning of a journey- Lena has her baby and finally will see Burch, Byron decides to leave townHuman need for companionship- Lena's search for Lucas, Byron's proposal to Lena, Hightower's lonelinessResponsibility of good character- Hightower birthing Lena's baby, Byron caring for LenaAnd Vice Versa- The absence of Lucas BurchChapter 17 is a very significant chapter within Light in August because of the plot progression. Through the chain of events in this chapter the audience sees character development of Lena, Byron Bunch, and Gail Hightower, and also feels great sympathy for the three.
71 Chapter 19 Plot SummaryDistrict attorney Gavin Stevens puts the Hineses on a train back to Mottstown, assuring them that Joe Christmas's body will be sent along after them.Gavin Stevens tells his visiting friend of his view on Joe Christmas’ escape and that he believes it was a struggle between his black and white blood that led him to Hightower.The story of Joe Christmas's death is told from the point of view of Percy Grimm, a white supremacist.Percy rounds up a motley crew of American legion members in order to patrol the downtown area where Christmas is being held.When Christmas escapes, Percy hunts him down and finds him in Hightower's house, where he shoots and castrates him.
72 Chapter 19 ThemesStyle Faulkner takes the view of Percy Grimm, a white supremacist to tell the story of how Christmas dies.The choice to focus on such a new character in the end of the novel and to change point of views adds to Faulkner's static style. Also, Grimm's account of the incident adds to the feeling of the inevitability of Christmas' death and further develops the portrayal of Christmas as a victim. ThemesChristmas' castration is representative of racial prejudice and the desire to end interacial procreation and the reproduction of black blood.Christmas being found in Hightower’s home develops the circle cycle of the novel and helps bring it full circle connecting the characters and their pasts.Christmas dies in his early thirties just as Jesus did and this deepens the argument that he Christmas is a Christ figure.
73 Chapter 20 Important Quotes “He lived by his principles in peace, and when war came he carried them into war and lived by them there; when there was preaching on peaceful Sundays in quiet groves to be done, he had done it.” Pg: 474In this quote, the narrator describes Hightower’s Grandfather during the war, these traits skipped a generation and were past down to him. This could be where Hightower’s love for preaching came about. This quote is significant, because it shows Hightower’s background and where he learned his morals.“Not Marse Gail. Not him. Dey wouldn’t dare to kill a Hightower. Dey wouldn’t dare. Dey got im hid somewhar, tryin to sweat outen him whar me and him hid Mistis’ coffee pot and de gole waiter. Dat’s all dey wants.” Pg: 476The Negro slave woman, who was one of Hightower’s phantoms, said this quote. Faulkner uses colloquialism to show the Negro women’s way of talking and her lack of education.
74 Chapter 20 Important Quotes Cont. “That I skipped a generation. It’s no wonder that I had no father and that I had already died one night twenty years before I saw light. And that my only salvation must be the place to die where my life had already ceased before it began.” Pg: 478This quote, said by Hightower, expresses his relationship with his grandfather and not his own father. His grandfather was his role model and where he received all of his personality traits. Hightower looked up to his grandfather with his grandfather’s old war suit that had an American blue patch on the front.“Perhaps at that moment I became her seducer and her murderer, author and instrument of her shame and death. After all, there must be some things for which God cannot be accused by man and held responsible.” Pg: 488Hightower expresses the pains he put forth on his wife that led her to suicide and excuses God for man’s sin, for it is not his fault men do sinful actions.
75 Chapter 20 Characters, Themes, POV In this chapter, Faulkner uses burden of the past, Hightower is stuck in his painful past that keeps haunting him. He also keeps remembering his heroic grandfather, his father and his torn relationship with his wife.Hightower also was an outsider, like Joe Christmas, he was shunned from society, lost his wife, and wasn’t accepted.Point of View:In this chapter, and throughout the book, the point of view is third person limited.Character Development:Hightower’s personal past his shown in this chapter, not until now have we seen a chapter exclusively on Hightower. Faulkner uses this chapter near the end to show how Hightower has matured and became reborn. Faulkner uses Hightower as part of the circular effect on the novel, being the mediator between Lena and Joe Christmas. Through his troubled past he stayed alive at the end of the novel to be reborn and relive a new life.
76 Chapter 21 Plot development Character development Here the cyclical structure finishes with Lena.Narrated by an unnamed furniture dealer as he recounts the tale to his wife, this new POV emphasizes both Lena’s transition from Jefferson and her continual impact on strangers.The narrator picks up the trio in his truck, as they have no particular destination. They spend the night with him camped by the car, where he learns they are hunting for Lucas. Later in the night Byron comes to bed with Lena, only to be told to sleep on the ground. Byron goes off into the woods, is not back in the morning. The narrator continues on with Lena, until Byron appears ahead on the road. They pick him up, and continue on their journey as Lena thinks of how much life she has so recently lived.Character developmentLena: At the first level it seems Lena is in the same position of chasing Lucas as she was in the beginning of the book. However, with the potential of her unnamed child and a man who cares for her, it is evident she is now continuing on the same journey of her life with a renewed purpose and new companions.Byron: Now the ‘new Byron’ after fighting Lucas Burch, Byron has broken away from the structure he thought kept him safe and the society that defined him, traveling with Lena. Lena doesn’t treat, or even pretend to treat him as a husband, but his talk of marriage now makes her smile a little, indicating future potential for the couple.
77 Chapter 21: Significant quotes “I don’t think she had any idea of finding whoever it was she was following. I don’t think she had ever aimed to, only she hadn’t told him yet.” pg 506 – This quote is interesting as earlier the narrator understood the trio to be looking for Lucas, and it appears that this is what Byron understands too. It indicates that while Lena is “just travelling”, she may be playing this fake purpose, just to keep Byron along for the ride.“Why, Mr. Bunch. Ain’t you ashamed. You might have woke the baby up too.” pg I think this quote shows the foil between Christmas and Burden compared to Lena and Byron. The first couple were quite distant on an emotional level, and potentially learning from here mistake with Lucas, Lena is trying to preserve their relationship, growing together before things move to quickly.“Here we ain’t been coming from Alabama but two months, and now it’s already Tennessee. “ pg 507 – This quote has structural significance in tying the end of the book back to the very beginning, “although I have not been quite a month on the road I am already in Mississippi.” and further emphasizing the cyclical nature of the story. We see that Lena will continue on her journey in the same fashion, now with a son and Byron.
78 Chapter 21 Plot development Character development Here the cyclical structure finishes with Lena.Narrated by an unnamed furniture dealer as he recounts the tale to his wife, this new POV emphasizes both Lena’s transition from Jefferson and her continual impact on strangers.The narrator picks up the trio in his truck, as they have no particular destination. They spend the night with him camped by the car, where he learns they are hunting for Lucas. Later in the night Byron comes to bed with Lena, only to be told to sleep on the ground. Byron goes off into the woods, is not back in the morning. The narrator continues on with Lena, until Byron appears ahead on the road. They pick him up, and continue on their journey as Lena thinks of how much life she has so recently lived.Character developmentLena: At the first level it seems Lena is in the same position of chasing Lucas as she was in the beginning of the book. However, with the potential of her unnamed child and a man who cares for her, it is evident she is now continuing on the same journey of her life with a renewed purpose and new companions.Byron: Now the ‘new Byron’ after fighting Lucas Burch, Byron has broken away from the structure he thought kept him safe and the society that defined him, traveling with Lena. Lena doesn’t treat, or even pretend to treat him as a husband, but his talk of marriage now makes her smile a little, indicating future potential for the couple.
79 Chapter 21: Significant quotes “I don’t think she had any idea of finding whoever it was she was following. I don’t think she had ever aimed to, only she hadn’t told him yet.” pg 506 – This quote is interesting as earlier the narrator understood the trio to be looking for Lucas, and it appears that this is what Byron understands too. It indicates that while Lena is “just travelling”, she may be playing this fake purpose, just to keep Byron along for the ride.“Why, Mr. Bunch. Ain’t you ashamed. You might have woke the baby up too.” pg I think this quote shows the foil between Christmas and Burden compared to Lena and Byron. The first couple were quite distant on an emotional level, and potentially learning from here mistake with Lucas, Lena is trying to preserve their relationship, growing together before things move to quickly.“Here we ain’t been coming from Alabama but two months, and now it’s already Tennessee. “ pg 507 – This quote has structural significance in tying the end of the book back to the very beginning, “although I have not been quite a month on the road I am already in Mississippi.” and further emphasizing the cyclical nature of the story. We see that Lena will continue on her journey in the same fashion, now with a son and Byron.
80 Chapter 21 Evident themes: Identity: Unlike all other characters in the story, and despite all she has gone through, Lena accepts herself as what she is, continuing on her travels.Burden of the past: Again foiling Hightower and Christmas, Lena doesn’t obsess about the past despite the reminder of her child; she continues progressing down her trail.Names: Lena’s child is still unnamed, free from whatever connotations it might bring.I feel this picture represents the future of our trio, wandering about for no particular reason, relying on the kindness of strangers they know they will receive. The road is open and plain, easily accepted and moderately traversed; while their life may not be the easiest or most conventional , it is always progressing and has potential.
81 Characters Joe Christmas - main character/protagonist - young (early 30s)- biracial- doesn't ever seem to fit in wherever he is in his life - almost as if he complicates any joy that comes his way- complex- comes off detached to basically everything- left on the orphanage steps on Christmas- expresses a hatred towards churches and women- ultimately has no history, struggles to find true identity Joe Brown (Lucas Burch)- con artist, liar, gambler- selfish, lazy- father of Lena's unborn child- what we would call a present day "loser"
82 Characters Continued Lena Grove - pregnant young woman - from Alabama - travels to Jefferson looking for her unborn baby's father (Lucas Burch)- biblical allusion: Mary traveling to Bethlehem - gives birth in a cabinReverend Gail High Tower- minister in Jefferson- outcast- obsessed with his grandfather's involvement with his Confederate cavalry unit- punishes himself- bears much guilt from his wife's mania and eventual suicideSimon McEachern- Joe Christmas's foster parent- shows no mercy for anyone - feels that hard work and suffering leads to a moral life
83 Characters Continued Mrs. McEachern - Joe Christmas's foster parent - timid- desires a close relationship between both her son and Joe- tries to make up for her husband's violent behavior with kindnessJoanna Burden- resident of Jefferson- said to be a prostitute- planned on killing Joe Christmas - ended up being killed by Joe ChristmasByron Bunch- mill worker in Jefferson- is first thought to be Lucas Burch - becomes fond of Lena- keeps away from the outside world, stays isolated- could be classified as an all around "good" man - directs the choir - honest- friends with Hightower- his will to fight a larger man (Joe Brown) displays his deep emotions for Lena
84 Characters Continued Mr. Hines (Uncle Doc) - Joe Christmas's grandfather- spiteful, violent man- wants Joe to be lynched- pushes those who are close to him, awayMrs. Hines- Joe Christmas's grandmother - somewhat of a hermit- thought Joe was dead- passive towards her husbandMiss Atkins- dietician at the orphanage- speeds up Joe's adoption from orphanage once finding out of his biracial ethnicity - racist, spiteful
85 Settings Jefferson - Main setting throughout the book - Small, primarily Christian town- Pertaining to Joe Christmas, Jefferson is a special town in which Joe spends a lot more time than most of the places he has been- One can see the religious influence on the town as well as the stereotypical bias that comes with it (especially racism)- Due to Joe Christmas' ambiguous racial makeup he is neither accepted by the white community nor the black community
86 Settings Joanna Burden's Cabin - The place where Joe Christmas spends much of his free time while in Jefferson- Joe probably stays here because of the fear of getting too attached to Ms. BurdenJoe leaves the cabin to go to Ms. Burden's house only at night
87 SettingsOrphanage- Where Joe spends much of his childhood; he gets the last name Christmas because he was dropped off at the doorstep on Christmas- Joe hasn't lost the innocence of childhood yet, and doesn't understand why he is treated differently or why he is punished by the dietician- Joe Christmas mainly associates the orphanage with his "toothpaste" episode- The Orphanage is really the start of the psychological trauma that Joe faces throughout his life due to the lack of caring parental figures and friends
88 Settings Mr. McEachern's House - Where much of the psychological trauma continues for Joe- Mr. McEachern is so strict in forcing his religion on Joe that Joe associates religion with beatings and misery-While living in Mr. McEacherns house Joe never understands where his emotions come from or what they mean (especially love)- Joe does not understand why Mrs. McEachern tries to feed him and doesn't know how to react