Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Christmas's murder of the sheep in his neighbor's field has at least two meanings (of course, in literature, there is always room for more!). First, the killing foreshadows the murder of Miss Burden, letting the reader know that Christmas is capable of taking a life. The sheep is also another Christian symbol, and may foreshadow Christmas's own impending death. Christmas could be interpreted as a sacrificial lamb whose death makes the white community of Jefferson feel safer and vindicated.