+ 1-888-787-5890  
   + 1-302-351-4405  
 
 
 
 

Essay/Term paper: Major themes in faulkner"s light in august

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Faulkner

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on Faulkner: Major Themes In Faulkner"s Light In August, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Light In August:

A Study of 20th Century Man's Search for Self

A Study of the Origins of Evil









"...a man's future is inherent in that man..."

-Faulkner in the University. p.139





Faulkner's Light in August is a metaphor. In fact it is many

metaphors, almost infinitely many. It is a jumble of allusions,

themes, portraits, all of them uniquely important, many of them

totally unrelated. In fact no 20th century writer has even

approached the sheer quantity of symbolism Faulkner packed into

every page, with, perhaps, the exception of James Joyce who went so

far as to surpass Faulkner in this regard. So obviously it would be

foolish to attempt to trace every line, follow every branch to its

root, one could spend a lifetime dissecting the book in this

manner. Fortunately, in the midst of this menagerie of wonders,

there are dominate themes. There are veins of meaning that permeate

throughout. Chief among them; Faulkner's study of 20th century

man's search for identity, and his compassionate portrait of the

origins of evil.

I have come from Alabama a fur piece (Faulkner, p.3). The

reader begins the book in this manner, following the simple-minded

and determined Lena as she travels, neither coming nor going,

simply moving. Immediately the book draws into her past, relating

events leading up to this point, explaining her motives. One gets a

definite feel for her character, and settles into her narrative,

but as soon as this happens, the book switches gears, turning

instead to a vague character, Joe Christmas. With little

introduction, or warning, the book reels into Joe's past, catching

the reader totally unaware and throwing off the entire continuity

of the book. Faulkner's desire for unity and coherence in the

pattern is not as strong as is his desire for truth to individual

response (Reed, p.123). Thus Lena is a frame, she serves only to

accentuate Christmas's story, by contrast. Faulkner demands the

reader follow, and realize this.

So we now see Christmas's childhood. From the beginning,

Christmas is two things. One, he is a totally clean slate in that

he has no idea whatsoever of his past, his origins. He is neither

predestined to good nor evil, simply born. By this same token,

Christmas is left confused. Because he has no idea of his origins,

he has no idea of self, even to the extent of not being sure of his

race. Christmas is thoroughly alone in the world, irredeemably

separate from everyone.

"Well, here I am" (Faulkner, p.134). This is the first thing

The boy Christmas says. A fitting statement on his utter aloneness.

While Christmas is emotionally alone, he is not left alone by

others. Light in August reiterates its themes by a series of

different dramatic scenes acted by different examples of the same

types (Gold, p.41). McEarhern and the dietitian are essentially the

same: Authority figures who try to force on him their own ideas of

who he is, or who they want him to be. And the two, identical,

dramatic scenes acted by different examples of the same types, are

these: When Christmas is carried off by the insane janitor, and

when Christmas faints after spending hours standing while McEarhern

tries to force him to learn a pointless Catechism. Both scenes

involve Christmas's inability to resist, as authority figures try

to determine who he will be. Both scenes end with Christmas being

more confused than ever, yet more unwilling than ever to commit to

either picture of himself.

The dietitian does all in her power to convict Christmas of

being a Negro, and then, his foster father, McEarhern, tries to

force on Christmas an ideology totally foreign to him. McEarhern

uses extreme Calvinism to mold Christmas into a purely moral

person, while the dietitian tries to force Christmas into a state

of immorality, or at least portray him as such. Forces beyond his

control work against him, trying to force him in ways he is not,

sending him in contradicting paths.

Inevitably he rebels against these forces, finding refuge in

immorality, a whore, and later going so far as to strike out

against his oppressor, his own father, killing him. This final act

of defiance is not so much an act of pure malice, but rather an

irrepressible reaction to the extreme Calvinism. So extreme

morality has led Christmas to an act of extreme immorality. And

this is where the downward spiral begins.



The youth upon it's back rode lightly,

balance lightly, leaning well forward,

exulting perhaps at that moment as Faustus

had, of having put behind now at once and

for all the Shalt Not, of being free at last

of honor and law........He cried aloud "I

have done it! I have done it! I told them I

would!

(Faulkner, p.228)





Now Christmas is freed from all morality. When Christmas kills

his adopted father he becomes completely immoral. Caring nothing

for those around him Christmas has completed his journey from

innocent boy to uncaring man. Almost wholly as a reflex to the

cruelty of those around him, Christmas has become completely

detached from society. This is further compounded by his lack of

identity, also a result of the actions of others, and is symbolized

by the fact that he is unaware of whether or not he is black. He

drifts through town after town, aimlessly searching for identity,

accomplishing nothing.

Christmas meets Joanna and for awhile the reader senses that

he may undergo some type of transformation. It seems likely that

Christmas will finally reconcile himself, but Joanna betrays him by

trying to force her own ideas of who he is onto him, another

reenactment of the scenes before follows, only this time ending in

Christmas once again killing the person trying to change him.

The book ends with yet one more transformation for Christmas,

this time from the uncaring being he was before, to a being of pure

hatred and loathing. Such transformations always occur after the

aforementioned scene is reenacted, pushing Christmas further

towards evil, culminating in his bursting into the negro church.

Starting life as a pure, Christ-like baby, Christmas undergoes a

brutal series of confused scenes, that end in him "entering the

negro church as Satan and that is what he has become. Man perverts

the best in himself continually." (Gold, p.42). Christmas is drawn

into evil, by a world that would never let him be anything else.

Christmas symbolizes the cause and demonstrates the effect of man's

falling. His dual coloring is an ironic emblem for the divided

society in which he moves (Gold p.42).

Finally, Christmas is killed by Grimm, the embodiment of the

"divided society" that created him. This is the final reenactment

of the reoccurring scene. Only this time, Christmas can no longer

resist, and is destroyed. He is force to succumb to the "absurdity

that Faulkner finds in human life" (Satre, p.198).







Works Cited



Faulkner, William. Light in August. New York: Vintage Books, 1987

pp. 3-228.





Blotner, Jospeh. Faulkner in the University, Class Conferences at

The University of Virgina. Charlottesville, VA: University

Press of Virginia, 1959

p. 139.



Gold, Joseph. William Faulkner: A Study in Humanism From Metaphor

to Discourse. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966

pp. 41-42



Reed, Joseph. Faulkner's Narrative. New Haven: Yale University

Press, 1973

p. 123



Satre, Jean-Paul  

Other sample model essays:

English Papers / Man Of La Mancha
"Man of La Mancha" is the story of Alonso Quijana, a poor gentleman from Spain. He has read so many of the exaggerated romances of chivalry that he finally believes them to be his r...
Inherent inside every human soul is a savage evil side that remains repressed by society. Often this evil side breaks out during times of isolation from our culture, and whenever one culture co...
Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain
Samuel Clemens was born and grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. This was the home of his later characters Tom Sawer and Huck Finn. In these books he incorporated such features that really existed in Han...
English Composition / Masque Of The Red Death
In "The Masque of the Red Death", Poe leads one event into another often. He uses much symbolism, and in the paragraphs below, I will show you it. In the first couple of paragraphs...
Ever since Midas' lust for gold, it appears to be that man has acquired a greed and appetite for wealth. Juana, the Priest, and the doctor have all undergone a change due to money. They a...
English Composition / Mechanical Engineers
A mechanical engineer works with the principles of motion, energy and force. Usually a machine changes one form of movement into another. Mechanical engineers design machines whose parts work in a s...
Robert Frost / Mending Wall
"Mending Wall" by Robert Frost is a poem in which the characteristics of vocabulary, rhythm and other aspects of poetic technique combine in a fashion that articulates, in detail, the experience and ...
College Essays / Merchant Of Venice Essay
Many people are villainous in the way they act, and their villainous acts may be rooted in the desire to destroy others, or in the hopes of elevating themselves. Many people may only act...
English Composition / Metamorphoses
Lisa Weinstein Nonfiction Piece January 17, 2000 Metamorphoses The loud cries of teenagers fill the night, their laughter and screams echo through the streets. The many ...
English Composition / Metaphors For War
The use of metaphors are an important factor with any piece of literature. Metaphors add color to creative writings, also establishing depth. A story without metaphors is lifeless, unable...
Experience with Dream Essay - Reliable and great customer service. Quality of work - High quality of work.
Browns Mills, New Jersey, United States
Dream Essay - Very reliable and great customer service. Encourage other to try their service. Writer 91463 - Provided a well written Annotated Bibliography with great deal of detail per the rubric.
Browns Mills, New Jersey, United States
it is always perfect
Frederick, Maryland, United States
The experience with Dream Essay is stress free. Service is excellent and forms various forms of communication all help with customer service. Dream Essay is customer oriented. Writer 17663 is absolutely excellent. This writer provides the highest quality of work possible.
Browns Mills, New Jersey, United States
Only competent & proven writers
Original writing — no plagiarism
Our papers are never resold or reused, period
Satisfaction guarantee — free unlimited revisions
Client-friendly money back guarantee
Total confidentiality & privacy
Guaranteed deadlines
Live Chat & 24/7 customer support
All academic and professional subjects
All difficulty levels
12pt Times New Roman font, double spaced, 1 inch margins
The fastest turnaround in the industry
Fully documented research — free bibliography guaranteed
Fax (additional info): 866-332-0244
Fax (additional info): 866-308-7123
Live Chat Support
Need order related assistance?—Click here to submit a inquiry
© Dreamessays.com. All Rights Reserved.
Dreamessays.com is the property of MEDIATECH LTD