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Free Barron's Booknotes-Light in August by William Faulkner-Free Notes
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1. Is Faulkner fair to his women characters? Do they have depth or are they caricatures? Discuss both major and secondary characters.

2. Is Joe Christmas a tragic hero? Research the definition of a tragic hero.

3. Compare Lena Grove to Eula Varner of The Hamlet by Faulkner. Who is the more fully realized character?

4. Does Gavin Stephens speak for Faulkner? Consider his role in Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust as well as in this novel.

5. Which of the characters in Light in August achieves important new insights in the course of the novel?

6. Are Hightower's and Joanna Burden's ancestors at all similar to Faulkner's own? How are they different?


1. Does Faulkner view the community as a threat to the individual or does he view it as the medium through which the individual can realize himself?

2. Does Faulkner blame the past for the sins of the present?

3. On the evidence of Light in August, does Faulkner believe in the possibility of romantic love?

4. Compare the theme of miscegenation (marriage between people of different races) in Light in August to the same theme in Absalom, Absalom! or Go Down, Moses. Do the differences suggest any changes in Faulkner's views about race?

5. Does Light in August show Faulkner to be a fatalist?

6. Compare Faulkner's attitude to nature in Light in August with the same theme in his Go Down, Moses. Does Faulkner want to change the way man relates to nature?

7. How well do people communicate with each other in Light in August? What misunderstandings occur in the novel?


1. How does Faulkner's use of interior monologues differ from James Joyce's in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? Which of the two seems more realistic?

2. Choose two or more of the following patterns of imagery: ghosts, circles, mirrors, sounds, or motion. What do these patterns add to the novel, aesthetically and thematically?


1. Why does Faulkner include so much hearsay in this novel?

2. Do the three separate stories of Hightower, Grove, and Christmas form a unified novel? What unifies them?

3. How does the Jefferson of Light in August compare to Faulkner's real-life Oxford? If Faulkner made changes, why did he do so?

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Free Barron's Booknotes-Light in August by William Faulkner-Free Summary

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