A Light In August Essay Research Paper

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A Light In August Essay, Research Paper In the novel, A Light in August, William Faulkner introduces us to a wide range of characters of various backgrounds and personalities. Common to all of them is the fact that each is type cast into a certain role in the novel and in society. Lena is the poor, white trash southern girl who serves to weave the story together. Hightower is the fanatic preacher who is the dark, shameful secret of Jefferson. Joanna Burden is the middle-aged maiden from the north who is often accused of being a ?nigger-lover?. And Joe Christmas is the epitome of an outsider. None of them are conventional, everyday people. They are all in some way disjointed from society; they do not fit in with the crowd. That is what makes them intriguing and that is why

Faulkner documents their story. Percy Grimm is another such character and he plays a vital role in the novel. He is the one to finally terminate Joe Christmas, who has been suffering his entire life. Grimm is the enforcer, the one man who will uphold American pride at all costs. He also stands for everything in the world that has held Christmas back. He is the prototype of the ruthless enemy who is the source of all of Christmas? struggles. And Christmas can never escape him. He can run, as he has been doing all his life and as he does in his desperate attempt to escape. But he can never hide, as he tries to do at Hightower?s and as he has been hiding his true self from the world he hates so much. Percy Grimm represents the unmerciful society that has restrained and persecuted

Joe Christmas; it is only fitting that he should be the one to finally bring him down in the end. Percy Grimm was born into the American south and grew up to be a symbol and backbone of the environment he was raised in. His only regret in life is being born too late. He feels that his sole purpose in life would be to fight in World War I and defend the country to which he is completely and utterly devoted. But the war happened to occur in the time period where ?he should have been a man instead of a child? (Faulkner, p.450). So when he grows to be a man, he joins the National Guard, which is the closest thing to an army he can find. But instead of protecting the country from foreign enemies, his job with the National Guard entails protecting the country from certain things within

itself. Joe Christmas and the situation he has created is a direct threat to Percy Grimm and the establishment he represents. Although Grimm?s primary objective is to protect Christmas from hostile crowds, Grimm is imprinted with a sort of primitive and instinctive hatred for who Joe Christmas is, what he is, and what he has done. Grimm sees him as a dangerous, unknown and more importantly ?nigger-blooded? criminal. He had the nerve to violate and savagely murder a white woman who happened to be part of Grimm?s specifically drawn definition of ?American?. He has adopted, adheres to, and enforces the ?belief that the white race is superior to any and all other races and that the American is superior to all other white races and that the American uniform is superior to all men, and

that all that would ever be required of him in payment for this belief, this privilege, would be his own life? (Faulkner, p.451). Percy Grimm is a tough, humorless, and forceful individual who commands the respect of others. He is always on some sort of mission involving the preservation of order and he is determined to use all of his resources to accomplish his goal. Grimm is referred to by Faulkner as ?the Player?. His main purpose in the novel is to play the part of the executioner. Christmas does not stand much of a chance. Joe Christmas has always been hampered by a society that shuns him, alienates him, disgraces him and chases him away. Percy Grimm is the human representation of this society. The climactic chase scene between Grimm and Christmas is symbolic of how