1. What is the nature of Joe Christmas's relationship with Joanna Burden? Is her New England background important? How does that background influence her feelings about race and religion? How does this fit with her sexual behavior?

2. When Lena's child is born, Mrs. Hines makes a number of claims about the baby's father, and even the baby's identity; Lena becomes confused. What is she confused about? What are the implications of her confusion? Why would Faulkner include a scene like this?

3. Faulkner seems to be cobbling together a new "family" of sorts, linking together many of the isolated, loner characters. How does the birth of the baby "unite" the characters of the novel?

4. How does Lena's giving birth mirror the biblical birth of Jesus? Is Faulkner implying anything by this, or just using it as a recognizable fable? How do Byron Bunch and Joe Christmas fit into this symbolism?

5. Becoming "light in August" is a Mississippian expression for the time of birth for a foal or calf. Why did Faulkner choose this expression for his title? Given the amount of violence in this novel, what significance do you attach to the birth of a child as alternative?

6. What do you make of Doc Hines and Mrs. Hines? Why did Doc attack Joe Christmas after he was captured in Mottstown? What is Mrs. Hines's attitude toward Christmas? Why would they follow Joe back to Jefferson?

7. Where does Byron Bunch intend to move Lena Grove? Why there? And why is Rev. Hightower so wary of Byron's plan?


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