Figure 27: Essay Excerpt on Burch, Light in August

Below is an excerpt that falls under the comment “Logic and Articulation.”

You may access the comment by clicking on the “L” category or by typing the title into the search box.

You may print the excerpt for class discussions.

Sample Excerpt

The role of Burch within the novel, as a revealer of truth, contradicts Faulkner’s construction of Christmas.  As creator-narrator, Faulkner uses Burch to classify Christmas, to reveal his racial heredity.  But just as Faulkner creates Joe, he creates Burch.  So, if he is able to have Burch classify Christmas, then shouldn’t Christmas be able to classify himself?  And shouldn’t Faulkner also be able to classify his character without Burch as a way of bringing certainty to Christmas’s life?  These contradictions represent a double consciousness in Faulkner that illustrates his inability to reconcile the nature of his character, Joe Christmas, with that of the nature of society, to include his perspective.  In this instance, Faulkner’s double consciousness is a weakness because it involves a dual depiction of Christmas’s struggle with identity and the other members’ preservation of social norms.

Figure 27: Essay Excerpt on Burch, Light in August

What can you deduce from reading just the first set of sentences?  Before we analyze the paragraph, let’s first place it within a table (Table 7) to determine its premises and what type of conclusion(s) it has.

Questions

1) What truth or truths does Burch reveal?

2) Can a person classify him or herself or are classifications by society projected onto people? 

3) What are these contradictions?

4) Just because Christmas doesn’t know who he is, but Burch knows Christmas’s heritage, doesn’t mean that these are contradictions. This is irony. Each person sees him or herself differently. This entails perception, self and social. Now what is the impact of double consciousness on this assumption?

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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