William Faulkner’s study of 20th century’s man search for self, in the novel Light in August, shows us the darker side of humanity – the sense of being alienated. Among many of his books, he uses alienation as one of his major themes. Alienation occurs in humans when there is a sense of isolation, depersonalization, disenchantment, estrangement, or powerlessness. Alienation has been considered an especially important issue during the twentieth century. It's often noted as being at the heart of modern dissatisfactions-- especially of youths, women and racial minorities. (Artlex, al-am) In Light in August, Faulkner presents us with the major theme of alienation through several techniques. Three techniques I will discuss in my essay are: the setting – how it emphasizes the alienation, the shifting in time in the plot – as we are explained how alienation came to be apparent at that present time, and how the misogynistic tone of the novel adds to the theme of alienation.
The central setting in Light in August takes place in the town of Jefferson. We are presented with several areas in this small town. Many of which are secluded from the rest of the community. Faulkner’s choice of setting adds to his central theme of alienation. For example, Jefferson’s ex-preacher, the Reverend Gail Hightower, has taken residence in a small cabin deep into the woods of Jefferson after the scandal of his wife’s mysterious suicide. After being forced to resign from the church, he becomes a recluse in the woods; having only one contact – his advisor to the outside world, Byron Bunch. Faulkner describes Hightower’s cabin in the beginning of chapter 3, “From his study window, he can see the stre...
... middle of paper ...
...their community because of the disapproval of their lifestyles. The misogynistic tone is meant to give the reader the feeling of alienation. Joe Christmas’s hatred towards women adds to his alienated character. While the use of negative female roles, adds to the theme of alienation.
Alienation is a concurrent theme in many of the Faulkner’s novels. He presents us this theme clearly in Light in August with his descriptive choice of setting as we are walked through Jefferson from the Reverend Gail Hightower’s cabin to the mysterious estate of Joanna Burden. The slightly complicated plot tells the story of each character and how they reached to the present time of alienation. And his use of tone, misogynistic in nature, adds to the central theme. Faulkner’s use of these three techniques allowed the reader to recognize and relate to the feeling of alienation.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- "I decline to accept the end of man...I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance." -William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1949 William Faulkner illustrates many dimensions of prayer in Light in August: his characters avoid it, abuse it, embrace it, and blame it. In every case, Faulkner portrays prayer's power on the psyche.... [tags: Light in August Essays]
2209 words (6.3 pages)
- Within Light in August, by William Faulkner, the author finds a way to add significance to each character, no matter how small. Adding this emphasis on previously insignificant character leads to a greater understanding to each character’s contribution to the novel’s development. Beginning in chapter 7, Joe Christmas tells of his life living with his adopted parents, McEachern and his wife, Mrs. McEachern. Their relationship seems normal at first glace, but taking a more in-depth route provides substance to Mrs.... [tags: William Faulkner, Novel, Light in August, Dolls]
1176 words (3.4 pages)
- William Faulkner's Light in August William Faulkner’s study of 20th century’s man search for self, in the novel Light in August, shows us the darker side of humanity – the sense of being alienated. Among many of his books, he uses alienation as one of his major themes. Alienation occurs in humans when there is a sense of isolation, depersonalization, disenchantment, estrangement, or powerlessness. Alienation has been considered an especially important issue during the twentieth century. It's often noted as being at the heart of modern dissatisfactions-- especially of youths, women and racial minorities.... [tags: Papers]
1041 words (3 pages)
- Images of Blood in Faulkner's Light in August "Blood" is considered by many to be one of the most important ties between human beings; it is therefore frequently used as an image that defines a character or a relationship between characters in a novel. For example, a prince might be defined by his "royal blood," or a weak man described as having "thin blood." Close friends may be "blood brothers," or families may have a "blood feud." In William Faulkner's Light in August, the image of blood permeates the themes of sexuality, race, and religion.... [tags: Faulkner Light August Essays]
2148 words (6.1 pages)
- Isolation in Light In August In William Faulkner’s Light In August, most characters seem isolated from each other and from society. It is often argued that Lena Grove is an exception to this, but I have found that I cannot agree with this view. Consequently, this essay will show that Lena is lonely too, and that the message in Faulkner’s work on the issue of human contact is that everyone is essentially alone, either by voluntary recession from company or by involuntary exclusion, and the only escape from this loneliness is to have a proper family to comfort you.... [tags: Light August Essays]
1130 words (3.2 pages)
- “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” George Washington According to George Washington, morality can only be maintained or exist when religion is there to guide it. While this may seem like a simple concept to understand, matters of religion and morality are more complex. Many religions have value systems regarding virtues and morals that are meant to guide their followers in determining between right and wrong; however, just because a person is religious does not necessarily mean they are moral and just be... [tags: Light in August Essays]
1171 words (3.3 pages)
- Disjointed Characters of A Light in August In the novel, A Light in August, William Faulkner introduces us to a wide range of characters of various backgrounds and personalities. Common to all of them is the fact that each is type cast into a certain role in the novel and in society. Lena is the poor, white trash southern girl who serves to weave the story together. Hightower is the fanatic preacher who is the dark, shameful secret of Jefferson. Joanna Burden is the middle-aged maiden from the north who is often accused of being a “nigger-lover”.... [tags: Light August Essays]
1451 words (4.1 pages)
- Religious Symbolism in Light in August William Faulkner’s, "Light in August" has many references to Christianity. He employs a great deal of religious symbolism in all of his characters. These parallels seem very intentional, even though, Faulkner himself says he did not do it purposely. The Christ story is one of the most popular stories invented and it seems right that at some point someone is going to write similar to it. William Faulkner says he did not put the Christian parallels in intentionally.... [tags: Light August Essays]
1568 words (4.5 pages)
- "Light in August": The Measure of a Man One of the most influential people in the world during the past two thousand years may be surprising to some people. He is the center of controversy after controversy; nations have risen and fallen because of his name. Year after year, men and women are persecuted and killed because of their devotion to a man who walked this earth before any of them can even trace their ancestry, Jesus Christ. One might say that Joe Christmas, William Faulkner's unforgettable version of a rebel without a cause, is the complete opposite of Jesus.... [tags: Light August Essays]
1178 words (3.4 pages)
- Burden: The Name Says it All in Light in August Expecting parents put so much thought, time, and energy into the choosing of a name for their baby. They turn to family trees and dictionaries of names to help in their important decision. In many ways, a child's name can determine who they will become and what kind of person they will be. Then there is the last name. It's automatic; no one has a choice in it. The last name perhaps has more of an impact on determining who a person will become, because the last name carries generations of ideals, memories, and pride.... [tags: Light August Essays]
1401 words (4 pages)