Study Guide

Light in August Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

  • The Hineses, a bizarre older couple, have lived in Mottstown for thirty years.
  • Mr. Hines used to work in Memphis (doing what, we don't know) but for mysterious reasons he stopped working there.
  • The Hineses live in the black section of town and they're really poor. They can barely afford to eat, but some local black women take pity on them, bringing them food on a regular basis.
  • Mr. Hines preaches white supremacy at a local black church, trying to convince the black churchgoers that white people are just plain better at everything.
  • When Joe Christmas is captured in Mottstown, Mr. Hines moves quickly through the crowd and looks Joe in the face.
  • Mr. Hines tries to hit Christmas in the face with his cane but some nearby men pull him away, subdue him, and drag him home.
  • Mrs. Hines is also particularly curious about this Christmas fellow and the men begin to wonder if the couple knows him.
  • When the men are gone, Mrs. Hines asks her husband what he did over thirty years ago with the child who belonged to a woman named Milly.
  • Meanwhile, Mottstown is gossiping about Joe Christmas's capture and Mr. Hines's strange behavior. After the arrest, Mr. Hines returned downtown and demanded that Christmas be lynched.
  • Mrs. Hines comes to the jail asking to see Christmas, but the jailer won't allow her to without permission from the sheriff.
  • A group of men from Jefferson arrive to take Christmas back there to be tried. Outside the jail an even larger group of people stand outraged, demanding Christmas's death.
  • The men escort Christmas through the crowd and into a car, but not before Mrs. Hines is able to catch a glimpse of him.
  • Mrs. Hines becomes determined to get to Jefferson; she and her husband wait at the depot for the 2am train to Jefferson.

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