Study Guide

Light in August Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

  • Hightower sits in his house staring at a sign he made years ago, advertising art lessons. He recalls losing his church due to his wife's infidelities and her eventual murder, by her lover, in Memphis.
  • Byron remembers coming to Jefferson seven years ago and asking people in the town about Hightower. They told him that Hightower requested a minister position in Jefferson, that he was obsessed with Jefferson because his grandfather was killed there during the Civil War.
  • Hightower's sermons were strangely emotional and wild and none of the church members approved of them.
  • Byron also hears from the townsfolk that Hightower's wife went crazy because Hightower didn't pay enough attention to her. They remember her weeping uncontrollably in the church at first and then they recall her leaving town for days at a time.
  • One Sunday after a trip to Memphis, Hightower's wife came to church and started screaming in and fighting in the middle of the sermon.
  • Hightower walked into the audience, approached her, and walked her out of the room.
  • Hightower then put his wife into a sanitarium.
  • When she was released, she seemed normal and she went to church regularly.
  • Eventually, though, she began going to Memphis again to take lovers.
  • One Sunday a newspaper reported that Hightower's wife had jumped or fallen from a hotel window in Memphis. She was with a man at the time and the pair was registered as husband and wife.
  • Humiliated, Hightower was asked to resign from the church and eventually he does. He refuses to leave the town, however, and eventually the town gets tired of gossiping about him.
  • Bunch visits Hightower's study a few times a week for conversation.
  • In the present, Byron approaches Hightower's house on the Sunday night after he meets Lena. Hightower, surprised, teases Bunch for being in town on a Sunday.

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