Light in August by William Faulkner

1034 Words Feb 20th, 2018 4 Pages
African Americans were seen as a threat to whites and were not welcomed into society. Hostility ran deep towards African Americans and eventually escalated to physical harm to demonstrate who held the power. Violence is a distinctive motif found reoccurring in themes of race. There is a double standard in which African Americans who are provoked by oppression are dangerous while whites who administer the violence are justified as being a protector. In my paper, I will first introduce examples of violence that were results of racial tensions in William Faulkner’s Light in August. I will discuss that the reasoning behind violence is due to both internal and external pressures, by examining the motives of Joe Christmas and Percy Grimm. Additionally, I will address the misconception that violence is associated with the African American race during the time period. Then I will relate the examples of violence to ideas of how racism developed from Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. I will elaborate further by discussing how these ways of thinking act as justification for violence. Using concepts presented from The Origins of Totalitarianism as a lens for analysis, I will argue that racism induces violence as illustrated in Light in August.
Joe Christmas is the recipient of the town’s enmity due to his biracialism,…
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