Joanna and Joe seem to be alike: both have no bonds with the community where they live. She is white but works for the sake of Afro-Americans which automatically excludes her from the society where she belongs. He is not sure of his family background and does not want to be assimilated because of his personal fight for his place in the split society. This makes them both outcasts. The motive behind Joanna's work for the black community portrays fully the white Southerners' attitude towards racial differences. It can be illustrated by the following quotation:
I had seen and known Negroes since I could remember. I just looked at them as I did at rain, or furniture, or food or sleep. But after that I seemed to see them for the first time not as people, but as a thing, a shadow in which I lived, we lived, all white people, all other people. I thought of all the children coming forever and ever into the world, white, with the black shadow already falling upon them before they drew breath. And I seemed to see the black shadow in the shape of a cross. And it seemed like the white babies were struggling, even before they drew breath, to escape from the shadow [...] I saw all the little babies that would ever be in the world, the ones not yet even born—a long line of them with their arms spread, on the black crosses. I couldn’t tell then whether I saw it or dreamed it. But it was terrible to me. I cried at night. At last I told father, tried to tell him. What I wanted to tell him was that I must escape, get away from under the shadow, or I would die. ‘You cannot,’ he said. ‘You must struggle, rise. But in order to rise, you must raise the shadow with you. But you can never lift it to your level [...]32
This passage represents Faulkner's official view on racial issues. In his speech delivered on February 20th, 1958 to the members of The Raven, Jefferson and Omicron Delta Kappa Societies he said: „For the sake of the argument, let us agree that as yet the Negro is incapable of equality for the reason that he could not hold and keep it, even if were forced on him with bayonets, that once the bayonets were removed, the first smart and ruthless man, black or white, who came along would take it away from him, because he, the Negro, is not yet capable of, or refuses to accept, the responsibilities of equality. So we, the white man, must take him in hand and teach him that responsibility.”33
From the white Southerners' perspective, Afro-Americans are cursed by God because they are black. Dark skin colour is associated with sin. Joanna can never lift African-Americans to her level, which (apart from the supernatural aspect of the imposed "duty") sets her much higher in the social hierarchy, and satisfies her need for dominance (also in a sexual context). As Doc Hines, whose theory of "the devil’s walking seed"34 is supposed to justify his brutality against his family, Joanna tries to push Christmas in the role which is the most desirable for her.
The existing model of social structure in the American South was explained by the breakneck rhetoric, based on racial prejudice. It can be illustrated by the District Attorney, Gavin Stevens', monologue on "white" and "black" blood:
Because the black blood drove him first to the Negro cabin. And then the white blood drove him out of there, as it was the black blood which snatched up the pistol and the white blood which would not let him fire it. And it was the white blood which sent him to the minister, which rising in him for the last and final time, sent him against all reason and all reality, into the embrace of a chimera, a blind faith in something read in a printed Book. Then I believe that the white blood deserted him for the moment. Just a second, a flicker, allowing the black to rise in its final moment and make him turn upon that on which swept him by his own desire beyond the aid of any man, swept him up into that ecstasy out of a black jungle where life has already ceased which he had postulated his hope of salvation. It was the black blood before the heart stops and death is desire and fulfilment [...]35
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