Urbanism in Faulkners Light in August Free essay! Download now
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Urbanism in Faulkners Light in August
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| Words: 991 | Submitted: 21-Jan-2012
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DescriptionElements and symbols of the setting in Faulkners Light in August
Urbanism – Faulkners Signature
Light in August
Numerous writers have attempted to transpose in their works the “eternal” clash between the white and the black people, but few have succeeded to take it to a higher level. William Faulkner is among the few who have sought a deeper meaning; he comes to analyze not only the social and economic background, but mostly the devastating effect upon the human psyche. Light in August is the perfect example of how themes such as the racial conflict, prejudice, alienation, search for self, all come together to create the atmosphere of a newly emerged South.
The novel is set most likely in the 1920s, when the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction can still throw a shade on the characters’ destinies. However, the setting plays a more important part here, as it emphasizes not only the themes of the novel, depicts the mood, but also highlights the characters’ traits. Like most of Faulkner’s novels, Light in August is set in the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha, north Mississippi, in the town of Jefferson. This not only creates a safe and somehow isolated landscape, but it also enables Faulkner to reveal a microcosm, serving as a mirror of the entire South.
Interestingly though, most of the characters do not belong here, they are strangers to the town of Jefferson. They have no roots in this soil and they are not at home here. Gail Hightower has come here in search for spiritual peace. His grandfather, with whom he has shared a strong bond, was killed here during the Civil War. He admits that “God must call me to Jefferson because my life died there, was shot from the saddle of a galloping horse in a Jefferson street”. Joanna Burden, though was born here, is still an outsider, as she comes from a Yankee family; being a “Negro-lover”, she is not accepted by the community, a fact rendered in the site of her house, surrounded by trees and slave cabins. Lena comes to Jefferson in search for her unborn child’s father and ends up on the road again; but unlike the other characters, whose destinies seem to be predetermined, she is able to control her life. Last, but not least, Joe Christmas is driven to Jefferson in search for identity. Not a white, nor a white, Christmas carves the earth in an endless journey towards himself.
Nonetheless, the street itself appears as a metaphor of the perpetual search for personal meaning. After killing his stepfather, Christmas “entered the street which was to run for fifteen years. From that night the thousand streets ran as one street…..” The street takes him to Oklahoma and Missouri, and as far ...
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