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Light in August | Characters

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Character Description
Joe Christmas Joe Christmas is around 33 years old and believes himself to be black, although this question is never settled. Read More
Lena Grove Lena Grove is a young, pregnant unmarried woman from Alabama. Read More
Joe Brown Joe Brown, whose real name is Lucas Burch, is a young man who has abandoned the pregnant Lena Grove. He is living in Jefferson. Read More
Joanna Burden Joanna Burden is a 40-year-old single white woman in Jefferson, Mississippi. She is murdered by Joe Christmas after a 3-year relationship with him. Read More
Byron Bunch Byron Bunch is an older, single, steady worker in Jefferson whose life is changed when Lena Grove appears in town. Read More
Reverend Gail Hightower Hightower is a 50-year-old man who has been cast out by his church after his wife's death. Read More
Bobbie Allen Bobbie Allen is a prostitute, as well as Joe Christmas's first "girlfriend." He asks her to marry him after (presumably) killing his adoptive father.
Armstid Armstid offers Lena a ride into Jefferson and lodging at his house for a night.
Mrs. Martha Armstid Mrs. Armstid is a no-nonsense woman who gives money to Lena to help her, but also looks on her with disapproval.
Miss Atkins Miss Atkins is the dietitian at the orphanage where Joe Christmas lives in the first years of his life. She tries to have Joe transferred to an orphanage for black children after he sees her with a man.
Calvin Burden Calvin Burden was Joanna Burden's grandfather. She tells of him while explaining her family history to Joe Christmas.
Nathaniel Burden Nathaniel was Joanna Burden's father. He was married to a woman of Spanish ancestry, had one son, and then married Joanna's mother and had her after his son died.
Calvin Burden Jr. Calvin Burden Jr. was Joanna Burden's brother. He died before she was born.
Mame Confrey With Max Confrey, Mame owns a house of prostitution where Bobbie Allen lives and works.
Max Confrey With Mame Confrey, Max owns a house of prostitution where Bobbie Allen lives and works.
Deputy The deputy assists the sheriff in investigating the murder of Joanna Burden and in hunting for Joe Christmas.
Furniture repairer The furniture repairer picks up Byron Bunch, Lisa Grove, and her baby as they search for Joe Brown in the final chapter.
Percy Grimm Percy Grimm is a white supremacist who kills and castrates Joe Christmas.
Mrs. Hightower Mrs. Hightower was the wife of the Reverend Gail Hightower who died before the novel begins. She would vanish for stretches of time, and she died (by murder or suicide) in Memphis where she was in a hotel with another man.
Doc Hines Doc Hines, also known as Eupheus and Uncle Doc, is a religious extremist, father to Milly, and grandfather to Joe Christmas. He is the janitor at the orphanage where he abandons the infant Joe whom he later kidnaps; when he learns that Joe is accused of murder, he attempts to incite a lynch mob to kill him.
Mrs. Hines Mrs. Hines is married to Doc Hines, mother to Milly, and grandmother to Joe Christmas, whom she's not seen since he was an infant. She attempts to save him when she learns of his murder charge.
Milly Hines Milly Hines had relations with a man she believed to be a Mexican and ran away with him. Her father (Doc Hines) killed him, and Milly died in childbirth; she is the mother of Joe Christmas.
Simon McEachern Mr. McEachern adopts Joe Christmas when the boy is 5 years old, and then physically abuses him, which he calls discipline. When Joe is 18, McEachern is attacked by Joe (and presumed dead).
Mrs. McEachern Mrs. McEachern is Joe Christmas's adoptive mother, and in her way, she tries to care for him. She lets him know of her secret money, brings him food, and tries to be kind.
Mooney Mooney is the foreman at the mill where Joe Christmas and Joe Brown work.
Sheriff The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in Jefferson. He investigates the murder of Joanna Burden.
Gavin Stevens Gavin Stevens is the District Attorney in Jefferson for Joe Christmas's trial.
Varner Varner is the owner of a store in Jefferson, Mississippi.
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