Cyba, Frank (2008):
"“An Older Light Than Ours”: Faulkner’s Reflections on Race and Racism in Light in August." Eds. Carmody, Heather; Glauser, Michelle; Herrmann, Sebastian M.; Pitzing, Alexandra; Schönmeier, Lisa Sylvia; Weise, Lars. aspeers 1: 97-129.
Journal Article

This article examines William Faulkner’s reflections on race and racism in Light in August, by focusing on the crucial role that consciousness and psychology play in the novel for the construction of characters and their view of reality and of themselves. Light in August does not reproduce the South’s pervading racism as experienced by Faulkner, but undertakes a close dissection of a collective racialized imaginary. In order to support this argument, the analysis focuses on three different aspects: First, the narrative strategy of alternating subjective perspectives that explores the consensus-building dynamics, which condition perception and cognition as much as they generate prejudice and racism. Second, the community’s conception of race as an existential condition of insurmountable ontological difference appears to be intimately wedded to common concepts of gender. This conception is radicalized through a Protestant spirit of guilt and punishment as existential imperatives. Finally, the article analyzes Joe Christmas as a psychotic character by examining the process of his narrative construction and analyzing the extent to which his dubious racial identity and existential dilemma are presented as the result of racist discourse and not of “incompatibilities of blood.”