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Light in August:
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The following editions of Light in August are available for purchase online:

Light in August (Vintage Paperback Edition Light in August: The Corrected Text

Vintage International


ISBN: 0679732268

Published 1991

Novels, 1930-1935 Novels, 1930-1935: As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, Pylon

Library of America


ISBN: 0940450267

Published 1985

Light in August (Cassette)

Brilliance Corp.

Audio Cassette (Unabridged)

ISBN: 1561005886

Published 1994

Published October 6, 1932, by Harrison Smith and Robert Haas.

One of Faulkner’s best novels, Light in August tells the compelling story of Joe Christmas, an orphan of ambiguous ancestry who believes himself to be part-black. The novel is significant in its themes of community, race, and gender, as well as in its depiction of Calvinistic religion.

The novel opens and closes with Lena Grove, a literally barefoot and pregnant girl from Alabama who leaves her home to seek for her unborn child’s father, Lucas Burch, who has fled to avoid the burdens of parenthood. Her search leads her to the similarly-named Byron Bunch, a simple planing mill hand, who befriends her and falls in love with. Byron discusses his feelings for her with his closest friend and spiritual advisor, the Rev. Gail Hightower, a former Presbyterian minister who was forced to give up his pulpit after his wife committed suicide.

At the heart of the novel, however, is Joe Christmas, also a worker at the planing mill and roommate for Lucas Burch. Raised as an orphan (and named for the day on which he was found on the steps of the orphanage as a baby), Christmas’s uncertainty about his racial lineage leads him on a wayward—and at times, destructive—journey of self-discovery, culminating finally in Jefferson, Mississippi, in a disastrous affair with a spinsterish civil rights activist, Joanna Burden, that leads to his downfall.

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How to cite this page (MLA style):

Padgett, John B. “Light in August: Commentary.” William Faulkner on the Web.

This page was last modified on Thursday, June 26, 2008, at 05:17 AM CDT.
Copyright © 1995 – 2008 by John B. Padgett.

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