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10/6/05 12:39 pm - The relationship between Christmas and Joanna

**Light in August spoilers. Don't read if you haven't gotten to page 250.**

Here's something I am not a hundred percent sure about: Why did Christmas (sort of) rape Joanna? Why is he so angry at her? I have a few thoughts and possible answers:

-After developing a very stubborn misogyny, Christmas is angered to find a woman who acts more like a man. It doesn't fit his frame of thought.
-The kindness Joanna shows Christmas reflects Mrs. McEachern's kindness, which Christmas hated.
-He feels resentful because he thinks Joanna pities him.

I don't think I read this part carefully enough. I'll have to go back and look over it again.

Throughout the novel, Christmas alternately goes through periods where he identifies more with his white ancestry, and times when he identifies more with his black ancestry. Which race does he feel more kinship with when he meets Joanna? How does it affect his relationship with her? Could it have something to do with his anger?

10/6/05 11:54 am

**Light in August spoilers in this entry. DO NOT READ if you haven't gotten to page 250.**

Themes that seem to be popping up a lot in Light in August:

Christianity, i.e. Faulkner being pissed off at it
Gender roles, how people fulfill them, how people defy them
Personal isolation, particularly that of Hightower, Christmas, and Joanna
Names, especially misnomers and false names (Lucas Burch, Burden, Christmas)
Racism! Duh!!

At this point (and I'm about halfway through) I think the book is about how everyone being uptight assholes really screws over the few people in the world who (Faulker deems) are somewhat noble. Examples:

Hightower's wife was a mess. Maybe it was a little bit his fault, but mostly, it was just her being a psychotic floozy. The people of Jefferson ostracized Hightower because of his wife's behavior. They gossiped and made assumptions and eventually screwed him over by kicking him out of the church. Then the KKK beat him up because he was nice to blacks. HIGHTOWER GOT SCREWED OVER.

Christmas never had a place that he could call a home, and any place that tried to be a home was just a frightening facade of one. The orphanage kids called him Nigger; McEachern tries to beat religion into him; Mrs. McEachern's kindness seems false and meaningless; Bobbie's house becomes nightmarish. EVERYONE WAS ALWAYS SCREWING CHRISTMAS OVER. With that kind of upbringing, Christmas's indiscriminate bitterness is justifiable. In fact, I think Faulkner portrays it as noble.

The Burden family got screwed over a bunch of times, I'm not even going to go into that.

Lena Grove got pregnant with the child of a drifter who drifted off mighty quick. She insists on finding him, whether because of a naive hope or a quixotic stubbornness I don't know. We can't be sure yet how much Lena believed she would find Burch. But in any case, LENA GOT SCREWED OVER.

So I'm thinking that's what the novel is all about. And I think in the end, someone, probably Christmas, is going to get ultimately screwed over, and we're all going to be like, "Wow, that really, really sucks for him."

10/4/05 01:42 am

I'm on around page 220 (?) of Light in August, and at this point I really want Gail Hightower back. I saw something almost attractive in him and I want to know more. Byron Bunch is a comforting presence. Lena Grove is dependable.

In short, I'm getting a little tired of Mr. Christmas. Only a little, though. I dig the relationship between him and Joanna. It's strange and totally unrealistic, which I like. Now it's time for bed, which means time for Faulkner.

9/30/05 08:16 am

Good morning, IH-nam!
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