SUBJECT AREA Self improvement
CREATED ON 28th November 2017

Faulkner's Light in August - Hightower's Epiphany Essay

Light in August - Hightower's Epiphany Most criticism concerning Faulkner's book, Light in August, generally believes the nature of Joe Christmas. Christmas certainly warrants the attention paid to himpersonally, but too often this attention obscures other notable elements of this intricate novel. Often lost in the shuffle is another personality, the Reverend Gail Hightower, who warrants greater scrutiny. A closer examination of Hightower reveals Faulkner's profound concern for the South as well as the collective suffering of its people. Hightower, through his own private epiphany, surpasses the curse where the South has suffered for so long. Needless to say, the central part of Joe Christmas has mastered criticism of this novel, primarily because he represents the problematic and touchy issue of racism. Those who would like to prove that Faulkner either was or wasn't a bisexual often turn to Christmas - who's abandonded as a baby outside an orphanage and found on Christmas afternoon (hence his title); known as a "nigger bastard" (LIA 135) from the dietitian in the orphanage if he catches her with a young physician; and ever after suspects that he might have some Negro blood. This prompts many readers to see in Christmas a sign of racial tensions and conflict. For instance, in their own italicized amendments to the excerpt in the publication he employed for The Portable Faulkner, Malcolm Cowley describes the character as "Joe Christmas, the mulatto" (51). Regrettably, such calculations assume facts not in evidence. Cowley's additions do much more than simply provide a necessary circumstance; they solve a question regarding which Faulkner was undoubtedly non-committal. He explained of Christmas' background, or lack of one: I believe this was his first tragedy - he.

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