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Light in August Research Papers

Light in August research papers tell that it was in Light in August that William Faulkner first began to use the structure of the prototypical Southern community as a means of exploring the intricacies of human relationships.  Although the fictional Mississippi town Jefferson and Yoknapatawpha County had first surfaced in his third serious work, Sartoris, Light in August was the first text in which Faulkner employed the sustained metaphor of the seemingly sleepy Southern burg as a context through which other underlying issues and problems could be more deeply understood.

An Examination of A Light in August

In a research paper on Light in August, you will want to examine the following:Light in August

  • Faulkner’s treatments of the themes of personal identity
  • The burden of Southern history
  • Interracial relations in reference to the over arching context of a paradigmatic Southern community
  • Personal identity and the central importance of self-knowledge are important elements of Light in August.

The characters that are confused by or struggle with their identity are ultimately stymied in their quests, often by being brutally killed. Throughout the text, Faulkner equates the state of self-knowledge and a strong sense of personal identity with being in harmony with nature. Conversely, those characters that struggle with their identities are portrayed as existing outside the organic order of the universe.

In the text, Faulkner uses the community to mediate the polarities that exist in both the characters and in the society at large. The citizens of Jefferson mindlessly perpetuate the system of classification and categorization that has divided the town for years. Through this, Faulkner demonstrates that the unthinking systems of behavior that are associated with the tradition of a community can bring about its moral downfall if they are applied without human intervention and concern for the welfare of others. 

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