How is the symbolism of the clock tower in William Faulkner's Light in August similar to the symbolism of the clock tower in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? ...

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lhc's profile pic

lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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There are several similarities between Faulkner's work and Harper Lee's masterpiece, including the clock tower.  In To Kill a Mockingbird, the clock tower is juxtaposed against the Greek architectural columns so representative of the Southern aristocratic tradition before the Civil War.  It is a symbol of change directly placed next to the symbol of the Old South, and the old belief systems that many Southerners refused to let go of.  Both Faulkner's story and Lee's are set in the 1930's, Faulkner's in Mississippi, Lee's in Alabama, and both communities are still mired in the past, particularly on the subject of race relations.  Both novels explore the theme of fighting prejudice and the social ostracism that usually resulted from efforts to bring change forth into Southern society.  The clock towers, then, represent the relentless march of time into the future, which, slow as it may be, will eventually come to Alabama, Mississippi, and the rest of the doomed Confederate States of America in the form of a civil rights movement the nation will see broadcast on the relatively new medium of national television in the 1960's. 

etotheeyepi's profile pic

etotheeyepi | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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I can see how the clock in Lee's novel could represent the future because it is on a new building with a new design, and I don't remember enough about the clock in Faulkner's novel to see how it might represent the future, but I will cogitate on it a bit.

While I'm at it, I might think about the Bern clocktower which influenced Einstein.