Light in August Study Guide

Light in August Study Guide

Original title:
Light in August

Light in August by William Faulkner is considered to be an American gothic novel. The author explores the themes of race, class, religion and status on American South. All the characters are for some reason outcasts in the society. They are different people with different backstories, but the fact that they are individuals standing against the bigoted and faceless crowd unites them. The gothic atmosphere is beautifully portrayed, but the things that are hidden behind it are realistic and ugly. The prejudices of society make people suffer themselves and sometimes kill others out of despair, knowing that no one will ever allow them to live the way they want to.

The story features a mysterious murder - that makes it a gothic novel in the first place - but the main idea of the story isn’t solving that case, but showing the reasons why they all ended in the place they are. The laws that solidify the racial segregation create the impassable border between black and white society and some of the characters are considered guilty just by trying to pass that border. The characters of the story aren’t detectives who are investigating the case - they are either trying to avoid being declared guilty or just trying to survive and get a decent life in all the turmoil.

The name of the novel - Light in August - refers to the big fire that was seen from afar and was caused, seemingly, to cover the traces of murder. But the second meaning of it hints that one of the main characters, Lena giving birth and becoming “light” again. The author denied both meanings altogether and offered his own interpretation: the mysterious feeling given by sunlight that can be seen in August, when the sun rays are still warm but there is a strong perception of coming autumn.

New Essays

Community, Religion, Literature.

JOHN N. DUVALL THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS I first encountered the writing of Cleanth Brooks twenty years ago in a sophomore English class. The class exemplified New Critical pedagogy, both in what we read (Shakespeare, Donne, Frost, Faulkner) and how we read (close analysis of the text with no...

Light In August Quotes with Page Number

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” — — “Memory believes before knowing remembers.[Light in August]” — Page 139 — “Now she hates me. I have taught her that, at least.” — — “Dear God, let me be damned a little longer, a...

Light in August

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Community Light in August

Community in Light in August Most scholars view community as one of the most important themes in Faulkner’s novel, Light in August. Faulkner’s story is based on the community of Jefferson, Mississippi. The characters that Faulkner focuses on are mostly isolated from the community. Instead of...

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