Light In August
By William Faulkner
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Light In August by William Faulkner ranked # 54 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
Light In August is a 1932 novel by William Faulkner.
Light in August is an exploration of racial conflict in the society of the Southern United States. The title of the book was inspired by the special light that illuminates Mississippi in August, which seems to come from the far past. This underlines Faulkner's interest in the weight of history and the manner in which we relate to our pasts. A "light," at this time, was also a slang term for a pregnancy. Thus, a "Light in August" highlights the pregnancy and childbirth of one of the novel's protagonists, Lena Grove.
Originally Faulkner planned to call the novel Dark House, which also became the working title for Absalom, Absalom! However, one evening while sitting on a porch during a summer evening, his wife remarked on the strange quality that light in the south has during the month of August. Faulkner rushed out of his chair to his manuscript, scratched out the original title, and pencilled in Light in August.
So this Light in August can be seen in the novel as Lena Grove's newly born child. The child is born in August and is the "light" of the new generation. A generation untouched by the racism, prejudice, and hatred of the past.
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