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”. And Joe Christmas is the epitome of an outsider. None of them are conventional, everyday people. They are all in some way disjointed from society; they do not fit in with the
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He feels that his sole purpose in life would be to fight in World War I and defend the country to which he is completely and utterly devoted. But the war happened to occur in the time period where ³he should have been a man instead of a child² (Faulkner, p.450). So when he grows to be a man, he joins the National Guard, which is the closest thing to an army he can find. But instead of protecting the country from foreign enemies, his job with the National Guard entails protecting the country from certain things within itself. Joe Christmas and the situation he has created is a direct threat to Percy Grimm and the establishment he represents. Although Grimm¹s primary objective is to protect Christmas from hostile crowds, Grimm is imprinted with a sort of primitive and instinctive hatred for who Joe Christmas is, what he is, and what he has done. Grimm sees him as a dangerous, unknown and more importantly ³nigger-blooded² criminal. He had the nerve to violate and savagely murder a white woman who happened to be part of Grimm¹s specifically drawn definition of ³American². He has adopted, adheres to, and enforces the belief that the white race is superior to any and all other races and that the American is superior to all other white races and that the American uniform is superior to all men, and that all that would ever be required of him in payment for this belief, this privilege, would be his own life² (Faulkner, p.451).
Percy Grimm is a tough, humorless, and