Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Yoknapatawpha County (YOK-nuh-puh-TAW-fuh). Imaginary Mississippi county in which William Faulkner set all his fiction from his third novel on. A map of the county that he drew for his novel Absalom, Absalom! (1936) provides details about where the events in his novels occur. These details make it clear that Yoknapatawpha corresponds to Mississippi’s real Lafayette County, in which Faulkner lived. Light in August is also set in Yoknapatawpha, with Lena Grove leading the action into Jefferson at the beginning and out at the end.
Jefferson. Seat of Yoknapatawpha. Almost all the action of the novel set in the present takes place in and around Jefferson. Byron Bunch and Joe Christmas work at the sawmill, Reverend Hightower lives on a quiet street, Byron Bunch and Lena live in the boardinghouse, and Joanna Burden lives on the outskirts of town. Lena literally walks into Jefferson in the beginning of the novel and walks out again at the end, providing the frame for the rest of the events. As she enters the town, a fire burns in the distance—at Joanna Burden’s house, where Joanna has been murdered. The rest of the novel provides the background explaining what has led up to this moment.
Reverend Hightower observes the town through his window and receives news of the outside world through his visitor, Byron Bunch. Hightower’s carefully maintained isolation...
(The entire section is 573 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Ideas for Group Discussions
Compare and Contrast
Topics for Further Study
What Do I Read Next?
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Brooks, Cleanth. “The Community and the Pariah.” William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha Country. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1963.
Feldman, Robert L. “In Defense of Reverend Hightower: It Is Never Too Late.” College Language Association Journal 29, no. 3 (March, 1986): 352-367.
Inge, M. Thomas, ed. The Merrill Studies in “Light in August.” Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1971. Good collection of articles on Christ imagery and symbolism, myth and ritual, and the “Frozen Moment,” which clarifies Faulkner’s use of contradictions...
(The entire section is 395 words.)