What are some examples of wood imagery in Light in August?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is hard not to ignore the way in which Faulkner uses wood imagery again and again in this novel to deliberately allude to the story of Jesus Christ and thereby foreshadow the fate of his protganonist, Christmas. In particular, you might like to think of the various occasions when Christmas is described with his back to a tree. One time, he sleeps by a spring leaning against a tree. Later, he is described as being "more lonely than a lone telephone pole in the middle of a desert" as he wanders around the streets of Jefferson. At the end of Chapter Five, Christmas is again leaning against a tree:

When he heard eleven strike tonight he was sitting with his back against a tree inside the broken gate.

These are all clear examples of wood imagery that serve to attach Christmas to Christ being crucified on another kind of "tree" which therefore foreshadows the kind of fate that Christmas will suffer in this society. There are of course other incidences of wood imagery, and you might like to think about what is suggested when the body of Christmas is compared to a "post or tower" and that Joanna Burden leaves notes for Christmas in a "hollow fence post below the rotting stable." Images of wood abound.


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