Why has Faulkner woven the two stories of Joe Christmas and Lena Grove together? How do they come together to make the overall impression of this novel?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is an excellent question but one which is difficult to answer. Faulkner often wrote about little people, and Light in August deals with some of his most socially unimportant characters. Characteristically, Faulkner shows the lives of numerous characters all going on at the same time. Lena Grove and Joe Christmas are not the only ones whose paths cross; in fact, they never meet each other. Among the other characters and their ongoing stories are Byron Bunch, Lucas Burch, and the Reverend Gail Hightower. Faulkner suggests a whole world full of people with their different problems and stories, some of them interacting for a while and then going their separate ways. It is a world Faulkner created himself and named Yoknapatawpha County, and of which he called himself the sole proprietor.


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