Literary Precedents for Light in August

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As a victim of Southern racial, religious, and social mores, Joe Christmas cries out for social reform in a way that does not appear in Faulkner's earlier novels, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Sanctuary. In many interviews with students and teachers, Faulkner has described reading the work of Charles Dickens every year, and though many of the narrative and symbolic features of Light in August seem closer to another Faulkner favorite, Joseph Conrad, Dickens's great social novels, such as Bleak House, might have served as models for Light in August. Like Dickens, Faulkner was dealing with a large group of characters in Light in August, and some of the tricks of caricature that Dickens employed to make his action manageable seem to be used by Faulkner, such as his symbolic naming of characters—Joe Christmas, Lena Grove, Gail Hightower, and Byron Bunch...

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This section contains 326 words
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Buy the Light in August Study Guide
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