Professor Wai Chee Dimock continues her discussion of Light in August by showing how the kindness of strangers turns into malice in the cases of social reformer Joanna Burden and Reverend Hightower. Whereas that malice assumes comedic tones in the depiction of Joanna’s death, it has more complex valences in the case of Reverend Hightower, who is both ethically delicate towards his neighbors and insensitive to his adulterous wife. Professor Dimock concludes by observing the kinship between the dual narratives of Lena Grove and Joe Christmas as, respectively, the undramatic and dramatic strands of the novel. Drawing on her reading from last lecture, she shows how both Joe and Lena’s consciousness is marked by the gerund form and a passivity of agency that makes them receptacles for the dramatic actions of others.
Warning: This lecture contains graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.
This course examines major works by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, exploring their interconnections on three analytic scales: the macro history of the United States and the world; the formal and stylistic innovations of modernism; and the small details of sensory input and psychic life.
Warning: Some of the lectures in this course contain graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.