Wintersalen Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | September 17, 2014

    Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?



    My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$8.95
List price: $15.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Airport Literature- A to Z
3 Burnside Literature- A to Z
9 Hawthorne DISP- OLD FAVORITES
38 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Light in August: The Corrected Text (Vintage International)

by

Light in August: The Corrected Text (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9780679732266
ISBN10: 0679732268
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in 1897 and raised in Oxford, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life. One of the towering figures of American literature, he is the author of The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and As I Lay Dying, a,ong many other remarkable books.Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950 and France’s Legion of Honor in 1951. He died in 1962.

Synopsis:

Joe Christmas does not know whether he is black or white. Faulkner makes of Joe's tragedy a powerful indictment of racism; at the same time Joe's life is a study of the divided self and becomes a symbol of 20th century man.

About the Author

1. The opening chapter belongs to Lena Grove as she arrives in Jefferson. What are the core elements of Lenas character? Does she change during the course of the novel? If Lena has a symbolic function, what is it? What, if anything, does Lenas background explain about her character, motivations, and desires?

2. The story contains many flashbacks, shifts in temporal sequence, and shifts in the narrative point of view. How does the books structure affect the reading experience? In terms of prose style, what is most striking about Faulkners use of language and imagery?

3. Byron Bunch is a man who has tried to live in such a way that “the chance to do harm could not have found him” [p. 77]. He says to Hightower, early in the story, “a fellow is more afraid of the trouble he might have than he ever is of the trouble hes already got. Hell cling to trouble hes used to before hell risk a change” [p. 75]. Yet Byron changes more than any other character. He falls in love and, in pursuit of Lena, completely alters his life. Is Byron an admirable character, and if so, how and why?

4. The critic Malcolm Cowley felt that the novel “dissolved too much into the three separate stories” [The Faulkner-Cowley File, p. 28] of Lena, Gail Hightower, and Joe Christmas. Would you agree or disagree? Do their stories come together, and if so, how? Do these characters belong in the same novel?

5. Byron says, “A man will talk about how hed like to escape from living folks. But its the dead folks that do him the damage. Its the dead ones that lay quiet in one place and dont try to hold him, that he cant escape from” [p. 75]. How does this statement relate to Joe Christmas, Joanna Burden, and Reverend Hightower? What are the various ways in which their enslavement to “dead folks” and past history determines their lives?

6. Before he kills Joanna Burden, Joe thinks, Something is going to happen to me. I am going to do something” [p. 104]. Notice the passive and active modes of those two juxtaposed thoughts. Does Joe actively seek the fulfillment of “something awful” that he believes to be his fate? The narrator tells us, “He believed with calm paradox that he was the volitionless servant of the fatality in which he believed that he did not believe” [p. 280]. Faulkner seems to be interested in the relationship between volition and passivity in the novel; how do you understand the “paradox” of will and fate as it embraced by Joe Christmas? Are other characters similarly caught between will and fate?

7. One of Faulkners central preoccupations in Light in August is the legacy of Calvinism in the American psyche. In which characters is this stringent, unforgiving strain of thinking most apparent, and what are its effects? How are guilt and Calvinism linked?

8. In Light in August, womanhood and female sexuality are often described with a combination of fascination, desire, and loathing. Does this psychological attitude originate in certain characters, or does it seem to emanate from the author? Consider this question in the context of the following quotes: “He began to look about the womanroom as if he had never seen one before: the close room, warm, littered, womanpinksmelling” [Doc Hines, p. 132]; “the bodiless fecundmellow voice of negro women murmured. It was as though he and all other manshaped life about him had been returned to the lightless hot wet primogenitive Female” [Joe Christmas, p. 115]; and “Now and then she appointed trysts beneath certain shrubs about the grounds, where he would find her naked, or with her clothing half torn to ribbons upon her, in the wild throes of nymphomania” [Joanna Burden, p. 259].

9. As he takes a whipping from his foster father, Joes body “might have been wood or stone; a post or a tower upon which the sentient part of him mused like a hermit, contemplative and remote with ecstasy and selfcrucifixion” [pp. 159-60]. Why does Joe seek punishment from McEachern and reject the love offered by McEacherns wife [pp. 166-69)]? Why are the fanatical and sadistic patriarchs of the novel, like Simon McEachern, Calvin Burden, and Doc Hines, so powerful?

10. What are the most startling and memorable scenes in the novel? Are these scenes extremely visual in their effects? Do they seem appropriate to, or influenced by, the genre of film?

11. Chapter 5 is told from Joes point of view; what insight does the reader gain into Joes reason for killing Joanna Burden? Does he have a clear motive? Joanna is depicted as a masculine woman, a spinster, a Northerner and a nymphomaniac. What is at the heart of Joannas desire for Joe, and of his desire for her?

12. Critic Eric Sundquist has remarked that “violence and sexuality determine the contours of the Souths romance of blood” and that Joe is “a character whose very physical and emotional self embodies the sexual violence of racial conflict” [William Faulkner: The House Divided, pp. 89-90]. Discuss this yoking of violence, race, and sexual thinking in the novel, particularly as it is reflected in Joes relationship with Joanna Burden and in Percy Grimms murder and castration of Joe [pp. 464-65].

13. With Percy Grimm, Faulkner himself said that he had “created a Nazi,” a “Fascist galahad who saved the white race by murdering Christmas” [qtd. in William Faulkner: The House Divided, p. 93]. “I wrote [Light in August] in 1932 before Id ever heard of Hitlers Storm Troopers” [Faulkner in the University, p. 41]. Discuss the ways in which Chapter 19 explores the fantasies and fanaticism of both the individual and the group. Does Grimm intend to lead a lynching or to prevent one? Does Grimm function as the executioner whose fantasy is merely an exaggerated version of what the community also believes?

14. Joes life is figured repeatedly as a journey along a road; returning to Mottstown, Joe feels that “he is entering it again, the street which ran for thirty years. . . . It had made a circle and he is still inside of it” [p. 339]. Should we see a thematic link between Lenas journey and Joes? How do their wanderings differ in spirit and in function?

15. Light in August is primarily a book about racial identity, race hatred, and hysteria. Faulkner commented later that Joe “didnt know what he was, and so he was nothing. He deliberately evicted himself from the human race because he didnt know which he was . . . which to me is the most tragic condition a man could find himself in—not to know what he is and to know that he will never know” (qtd. in Light in August and the Critical Spectrum, p. 1). Are the coldness and violence in Joes character explained by Faulkners statement? How does the reader react to Joe Christmas—with empathy, with distaste, with bewilderment?

16. In The Sound and the Fury Quentin Compson says, “a nigger is not a person so much as a form of behavior; a sort of obverse reflection of the white people he lives among” [p. 86]. Discuss the ways in which Joe Christmas functions among the white community as an idea, a symbol, a negative image of their own ideal selves, and not as a person. What is the effect of this function on Joes own subjectivity?

17. Chapter 19, which tells of Joe Christmass death and castration, is followed by a chapter narrated from the perspective of Gail Hightower which tells the story of his past life and his failures, ending in the present moment. What might Faulkner have meant to do by juxtaposing Hightowers meditation with the horror that has come just before? What role does Hightower play in the novel?

18. A furniture dealer who gave Lena and Byron a lift in his wagon is the narrator of the final chapter, and their courtship is the subject of the comical tale he is telling his wife. Lenas pursuit of the feckless Lucas Burch has also been a source of comedy. Why might Faulkner have chosen to end the novel on this note of optimism and good-humored comedy?

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Karl Marg, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Karl Marg)
Faulkner's third best book (behind Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom) which says much about those other books.
Transcends it's time with complex characters not easily defined.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
jessie1980523, January 26, 2007 (view all comments by jessie1980523)
The title seems quite puzzling until we finish the novel. With two plots paralleling with each other in the story, Joe represents the tragic side of life while Lena, the optimistic one. Joe is not so much doomed by the society as by himself. Lena is the best example to show that men can master their own fates and turn better only if they always cherish beliefs in life and people. Compared with the previous title "dark room", this one "light in august" shows Faulkner's intention of soothing the despaired and helpless men in the modern world by letting them have a glimpse of light brought by Lena Grove in the story. At the end of the novel. men really see the light which gives them hope to live on in the chaotic world. so, Light in August is a suitable title for it reveals Faulkner's lifelong concern about mankind's destinies. In using this title, Faulkner tells modern men that modern world in not totally dark and hopeless.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(13 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679732266
performance Narrated:
Mark Hammer.
Publisher:
Vintage
Author:
Faulkner, William
Location:
Prince Frederick, MD
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Novels and novellas
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
Southern states
Subject:
Mississippi
Subject:
Pregnant women
Subject:
Racially mixed people
Subject:
Allegories
Subject:
Rural poor
Subject:
Mississippi Fiction.
Subject:
Stream of consciousness fiction.
Subject:
Drifters
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one auth
Subject:
Drifters - Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;fau
Subject:
lkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;southern gothic;1930s;oprah s book club;southern
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Subject:
fiction;novel;literature;american;classic;faulkner;20th century;american literature;classics;southern;modernism;mississippi;racism;south;usa;race;american south;the south;nobel prize;southern literature;american fiction;nobel;william faulkner;america;sout
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Series Volume:
no. 24
Publication Date:
19910130
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
7.98x5.28x.90 in. .85 lbs.
Media Run Time:
181500

Other books you might like

  1. Louisiana Power and Light Used Trade Paper $3.95
  2. As I Lay Dying
    Used Mass Market $3.50
  3. Invisible Man Used Mass Market $4.95
  4. Stones from the River (Oprah's Book...
    Used Trade Paper $1.95
  5. Song of Solomon
    Used Mass Market $3.95
  6. The Tortilla Curtain
    Used Trade Paper $2.50

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Nobel Prize Winners
Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

Light in August: The Corrected Text (Vintage International) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679732266 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Joe Christmas does not know whether he is black or white. Faulkner makes of Joe's tragedy a powerful indictment of racism; at the same time Joe's life is a study of the divided self and becomes a symbol of 20th century man.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.