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Words, Words, Words

A catalog of my comments and thoughts on books, reading, and writing as well as anything I come across that seems interesting. I used to sell other people's words at an independent bookstore but now I hope to get by on selling my own.

Faulkner Bingo

Light in August (The Corrected Text) - William Faulkner

Reading progress update: I've read 170 out of 507 pages.


I am not adding anything shocking or new to literary discourse in noticing that authors return frequently to the same themes and images across different stories, but it just strikes me how specific Faulkner's tropes tend to be. Now these are part of a set, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bias here in what Oprah selected but it is still notable. What would a Faulkner Bingo board include?


"Ruined" women: This was the most obvious and specific. Though it could be placed under a larger umbrella of sexual mores in religious communities, each of the  three novels has a central female character facing the crisis of a pregnancy out of the realm of marriage. I am surprised he hasn't just had a woman named Mary turned away from an Inn.


Pocket Watch/Time: Quentin's reflections on time and the pocket watch made for some of the most moving passages of The Sound and the Fury and I found Light in August returns to the pocket watch, with Christmas's stepfather, his pocket watch, and his cruel reliability. I can't recall anything so obvious in As I Lay Dying though I am drawn to Cash and the regular pace of his saw fashioning Addie's casket.


A wagon journey: As I Lay Dying is mostly about a journey and Light in August begins with Lena's journey to Jefferson, much of the part we see is in wagons. And key parts of The Sound and the Fury come back to wagons even though it  is a family that moved on to cars.


Jefferson: This may be a cheat, Faulkner returns to his fictional Jefferson as regularly as James Joyce to Dublin or Joan Didion to California or Jack London to Alaska. 


Hysterical Laughing: There is plenty of laughing in Light in August though I am yet hesitant to include it with what I noticed in the other two, where laughing seems to be the last resort of the most sensitive character to the cruelty around them, whether Quentin in response to his sister being abandoned, or Darl being betrayed by his family.


Fallen ministers: I was thinking of saying religion here, though that seems inescapable and broad. In AILD we have a minister involved in an affair with Addie, though he seems to escape any repercussions, while Hightower  in Light in August has been punished not even for his own failings but his wife's. 


What would you add to the board?