Study Guide

Light in August Setting

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Jefferson, Mississippi, located in Yoknapatawpha County, the 1920s

Faulkner used the fictional Yoknapatawpha county as the setting for many of his novels and stories, including Absalom, Absalom, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and " A Rose for Emily." The strategic location allows Faulkner to explore the tortured legacy of slavery and the Civil War in the post-Reconstruction South. Mississippi in the 1920s faced an uphill battle: cotton had been its chief economic resource, but the abolition of slavery meant less cotton production to fuel the economy; Jim Crow laws meant that while African Americans were technically free, they still had to live "separate but equal" lives apart from white Americans, leading to a lot of racial tension. The novel also takes place during Prohibition (1920-1933), a period when the sale and manufacture of alcohol was illegal in America.

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