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Light in August | Study Guide

William Faulkner

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Course Hero. "Light in August Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Apr. 2018. Web. 30 May 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. "Light in August Study Guide." April 7, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2023.


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Light in August | Chapter 15 | Summary



Chapter 15 opens by noting, "Christmas was captured in Mottstown." The narrator also observes that there is "an old couple named Hines" living there. The chapter explores the lives and personality of these two characters. Mixed in with their story is the arrest of Joe Christmas, who happens to be their grandson. Mrs. Hines goes to the jail, hoping to see Joe. She is denied, so the couple travels by train to Jefferson. Amidst this is the revelation that Doc Hines is religiously extreme. The chapter closes with him shouting, "Bitchery and abomination! Abomination and bitchery!"


Mr. and Mrs. Hines are parallels to the McEacherns. The biological grandparents of Joe Christmas are in no way superior to the couple that raised him. In both cases the man is a religious zealot. Whereas Mr. McEachern yelled "harlot" and "Jezebel" at Bobbie Allen, Mr. Hines is yelling similar terms in a general sense, to curse Joe's downfall at the hands of a woman. His curses are perhaps also aimed at his deceased daughter. Mrs. Hines, however, does demonstrate more independence than Mrs. McEachern. She takes charge of finding transport to Jefferson after she is denied entrance to the jail.

Readers have encountered detailed accounts about Joe's childhood and upbringing. It is logical for readers to wonder if things might have been different if he'd stayed with his biological family. Faulkner answers that question here in presenting these two flawed characters.

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