Social relations prevailing in the American South play a key role in Light in August. They are invisible but pervasive forces that direct events described in the novel.
Faulkner grew up in the American South and was regarded as a typical representative of the white part of that community. His novels are insightful pictures of the social and psychological life of this part of the USA in the Jim Crow era. The social pattern in Light in August, is illustrated by the character not matched to this pattern completely - Joe Christmas. Because his connection with a particular race was enforced by effective social stigma, Christmas does not fit into the existing model. Creating an individual devoid of any bond of belonging, Faulkner shows the relationship between social exclusion and suffering. The theme affects not only the protagonist but also other characters in the novel (like Hightower or his wife).
Man is a social being and as such most fully identifies himself with his immediate circle: family, neighbours and nation (people). In the American South, the category of race was added. Race determined the way of thinking, speaking and acting. People of uncertain origin could not be a part of the society where everyone had a well-defined place.
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