Images of Blood in Faulkner's Light in August Essay

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Images of Blood in Faulkner's Light in August

"Blood" is considered by many to be one of the most important ties between human

beings; it is therefore frequently used as an image that defines a character or

a relationship between characters in a novel. For example, a prince might be

defined by his "royal blood," or a weak man described as having "thin blood."

Close friends may be "blood brothers," or families may have a "blood feud." In

William Faulkner's Light in August, the image of blood permeates the themes of

sexuality, race, and religion. Blood is common to all of these themes: it is

evident in reproductive cycles and births, it is a medium for the genetic

passage of
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During the experience, he ate most of the

tube of toothpaste, and was caught by the would-be lovers when he vomited

(Faulkner 122). Aside from associating the sex act with disgust and vomit, he

developed the impression that the male is meant to incite fear in his female

partner, and this idea influences his sexual encounters over the years. When

Christmas first learns about menstruation from the boys he associates with as a

young teen, he is disgusted by the thought of the "physical ceremony," which is

not a "mental state," but "physical, actual, to be discerned by the sense of

smell and even of sight" (Faulkner 185). Had the boy relating this information

to Christmas not given him a graphic, tangible idea of the process of

menstruation, Christmas "would not have listened" (Faulkner 185). However, once

convinced of the possibility that the boy's claim is true, Christmas performs

his own ceremony, killing a sheep to immerse himself in the smell, sight, and

feel of its blood:

He found the flock in a hidden valley and stalked and killed one with the gun.

Then he knelt, his hands in the yet warm blood of the dying beast, trembling,

dry-mouthed, backglaring. Then he got over it, recovered. He did not forget

what the boy had told him. He just accepted it. (Faulkner 185-186)

The blood of the sheep provides

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