Light in August

Topics: Religion, God, Christianity Pages: 2 (643 words) Published: October 3, 2012
Violently employed, religion sallies forth the souls and lives of the Deep South. Consequently, “the weight of God’s wrath, according to the Bible, becomes white men’s ‘burden’ to carry […]” (Bush 1). Bible Revealed through myriad characters, Light in August not only proves that Southerners inculcate their practice of religion but also engender religious brutality. Presented through Reverend Hightower, Doc Hines, and Mr. McEachern, Light in August establishes distinctive notions of faith. Reverend Hightower “believed with a calm joy that if ever there was a shelter, it would be the Church; that if ever the truth could walk naked and without shame or fear, it would be the seminary” (Faulkner 478). Diverging from Hightower, Mr. McEachern, viciously pious, believes that “the two virtues are a work and fear of God” (Faulkner 144). Blinded by his own version of religious life is Mr. Hines. Through lives of these characters, religious views with power from the Bible are evident. The initial moment Mr. McEachern adopts Joe Christmas, he emphasizes the significance of religion. In a serious manner, while introducing himself he avers, “…I will have you learn soon that the two abominations are sloth and idle thinking, the two virtues are work and the fear of God” (Faulkner 144). From a failure to memorize the “Presbyterian catechism,” Joe receives routine whippings from Mr. McEachern merely at the age of eight. (Faulkner 147). Habitual whippings “desensitized” Joe towards pain and violence; as a result, receiving them did not have an effect of him. (Faulkner 149). Using violence to teach religion, Mr. McEachern employs two opposite methods which alter Joe’s mentality. Because the punishment and pain he receives from McEachern, he refuses to learn anything religious; consequently, Joe sees religion as pain.

Without reservation, the single answer to this young boy’s incapability to memorize is severe punishment. “He believes that his job was to teach Joe his religion even...
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