Study Guide

Light in August Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

  • Hightower sits by the window of his study as afternoon light begins to fade.
  • Hightower contemplates his life, focusing first on his grandfather. His grandfather was a lawyer who owned slaves, and didn't agree with Hightower's abolitionist views. Hightower was an outcast even in his own family.
  • Hightower's father was in the Civil War but he never fired his weapon; he trained himself to be a doctor instead.
  • Hightower's grandfather was killed in Jefferson while trying to steal chickens. Hightower remembers being obsessed with his grandfather's Confederate uniform.
  • Hightower describes himself as being surrounded by phantoms – the ghosts of his father, his grandfather, and one of his grandfather's female slaves.
  • Hightower remembers his marriage, and takes responsibility for ignoring his wife and for being a selfish minister and a selfish husband.
  • Hightower sees a wheel of faces containing all the townspeople of Jefferson. He also hears trumpets and the hooves of horses belonging to his grandfather's cavalry.

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