Light in August by William Term Paper

Total Length: 672 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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She is good, and in contrast, Joe surrounds himself with bad and self-destruction. Lena shows the opposite side of humankind, the good and decent kind that can cause people to change their minds and their lives.

Hightower on the other hand, represents all that is wrong with the human condition and its reliance on religion. A pious man, he is still a violent and confused man who lives in isolation because of his scandalous past. He too has chosen revolt and solitude, rather than responsibility. However, he takes responsibility for his wife's death near the end of the book, and leaves the reader feeling that he is redeemed, and will die at peace with himself, and with his God. Hightower illustrates there is hope for just about everyone, while Christmas, who never really seems to recant his life, shows that in some, a life of violence and revolt is the only thing they know or understand. Joe is a victim and can not rise above this status, while Hightower has been a victim but recants in the end. Faulkner writes of Hightower's thoughts, "And I know that for fifty years I have not even been clay: I have been a single instant of darkness in which a horse galloped and a gun crashed" (Faulkner 491). Hightower must face his own demons and does, while Joe is self-destructive to the end.
In conclusion, each of the main characters in this novel are symbols of the human condition. They are miserable, troubled, harassed, and lonely, and they each symbolize the many trials and tribulations humankind faces every day. Humans must make sense out of their existence by choosing solitude and rebellion, or responsibility and camaraderie. What they choose and how they choose it says as much about them as their lives themselves do, and these characters, with their harsh lives and dull acceptance of their fate illustrates the multidimensional and memorable characters Faulkner was so excellent at creating.


Faulkner, William. Light in August (Corrected Text).….....

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