Journal Article

Faulkner's Mendicant Madonna: the Light of <i>Light in August</i>

Irene Visser

in Literature and Theology

Volume 18, issue 1, pages 38-48
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/18.1.38
Faulkner's Mendicant Madonna: the Light of Light in August

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Lena Grove is one of the most mysterious and most underestimated of William Faulkner's fictional creations. While the structural and thematic function of Lena's narrative has received much critical attention, the mystery of her almost instinctive spirituality has generally been ignored. Yet she possesses a unique, natural serenity which contrasts sharply with the world of violence of Faulkner's South in Light in August. In creating a mendicant Madonna, Faulkner gave expression to his deep-felt desire for immunity from the destructive belief system of the South, making this unlikely figure—a destitute unmarried mother—a symbol of pure and unlimited freedom.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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