Summary: Light in August – Chapter One

“Light in August” by William Faulkner is the book for the first time Faulkner reader to start with. The book is very readable. Unlike some Faulkner stories, the story line is easy to follow. He is not as verbose in this work as in some of his others where monologues within the story derail the reader. The plot is more typical than any of his other works. The average reader will appreciate the book and get a hunger to dip into other works by this southern master writer. I am going to blog my thoughts, reflections, and a simple chapter summary as I reread the book chapter by chapter. So naturally, I’ll start at the beginning, chapter one.

In chapter one we find a young woman named Lena Grove. She had been living with her brother in Alabama. She was living with her brother because her parents both died the summer when she was twelve years old. Her mother died first and then her father. As the tale begins she is travelling from Alabama to Jefferson, Mississippi. At the end of the chapter we find out the journey takes her one month. But as the chapter unfolds we find her walking barefoot. She is in her teens and she is pregnant. A couple of local men notice the girl and discuss her wondering who she is, where she is from, and what she is up to. They also notice she is not wearing a wedding ring. One of the two men is named Armstid. As he is heading home in his wagon he gives her a ride and takes her home for supper. His wife is cold toward the young woman, though they feed and care for her, allow her a good night’s rest, and the Armstid wife even breaks a little rooster china bank giving the coins to Lena. Then Armstid takes her to town the next morning where she can get a ride on to Jefferson. There she hopes to find Lucas Burch, apparently the man of her affections and the father of her baby. The chapter ends with Lena saying she’s only been on the road four weeks and here in Jefferson already. More to come after I reread chapter two.

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