Light In August
Old Verities and Truths of the Heart
In his Novel Prize Address, Faulkner states that an author must leave "no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart...love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice." He accuses his younger contemporaries of ignoring these noble spiritual pillars while pondering the atomic doom of mankind with questions like, "When will I be blown up?" Such physical fears, far from conflicts of the heart, are what plague his bomb-obsessed contemporaries. Yet Faulkner stands, seemingly alone, in opposition to this weakness; he "decline[s] to accept the end of man" and in rebelling, fights for the old universal truths and the glories of the past. In classical style, he brushes away passing fears and fads, settling for nothing less than the "problems of the human heart in conflict with itself." Nothing else is worth writing about and Faulkner's work is living proof.
The characters in Light in August are full of the conflicts and virtues Faulkner describes in his speech. In Lena, Hightower, and Christmas, one can find endurance, sacrifice, and honor. In other characters, such as Byron Bunch, the main ingredient is hope. Yet regardless of who he is...
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