Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner: Faulkner, Light in August, Part IV (Lecture 25 of 25) Yale | Fall 2011

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Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner (AMST 246)

Professor Wai Chee Dimock concludes her discussion of Light in August and the semester by mapping Faulkner's theology of Calvinist predestination onto race. Using Nella Larsen's novel Passing as an intertext, she shows how Joe Christmas's decision to self-blacken expresses his tragic sense of being predestined, of always "coming second." Moving away from tragedy, Dimock reads Hightower's delivery of Lena's baby as inhabiting a liminal space between tragedy and comedy, as Faulkner gives Hightower a second chance at meaningful communal agency. She finishes by reading Lena Grove and Byron Bunch's courtship as the comic end of Light in August.

Warning: This lecture contains graphic content and/or adult language that some viewers may find disturbing

00:00 - Chapter 1. "Passing" in Light in August
06:12 - Chapter 2. Joe Christmas's Redoubled Double-Consciousness
10:01 - Chapter 3. The Symbolic Pattern of Lighting a Match
18:07 - Chapter 4. The Racialized Predestination of Joe Christmas
22:52 - Chapter 5. Joe Christmas's Lack of Agency
29:43 - Chapter 6. Hightower as the Midpoint Between Joe Christmas and Lena Grove
33:28 - Chapter 7. Giving Hightower a Second Chance
39:38 - Chapter 8. The Wisdom of Crowds
43:52 - Chapter 9. Faulkner's Use of the Kindness of Strangers as a Multitude
46:23 - Chapter 10. Faulkner on Marriage

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://oyc.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2011.

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