Light In August

Conservative Racist Ideology and the Post Reconstruction South

As one of the great stylists of the twentieth century, William Faulkner explores the South’s haunting past throughout several novels. His novel Light in August is one of many set in Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional place in Mississippi, where he explores the fallout and change in the early to mid 1900’s caused by Reconstruction. In this novel, Faulkner uses a strange protagonist, Joe Christmas, to reveal that society’s moral and social values. Joe, a man allegedly from racially diverse parentage, is never proven to be part black. His alienation from white society, however, is just one example of the influence of the white supremacist theology on the people with whom he interacts. Faulkner also seeks to illustrate how religion can be misused, becoming nothing more than an instrument of racisms. The interactions between Joe Christmas and the townspeople reveal that truth and fact are ambiguous and not always consistent; but that it does not stop public opinion from casting judgment on what they interpret as the truth.

Joe Christmas is alienated by society because of his presumed race and behavior. Christmas is brought up in a white orphanage and appears to be white. However he is ostracized by the other children and becomes...

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