Study Guide

Light in August Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

  • Bunch tells Hightower how Christmas has been living in an old slave cabin off of Miss Burden's property. He and Brown have been living there and selling whiskey illegally.
  • Byron relates to Hightower how he told Lena that Brown was living in the cabin and then instantly regretted it.
  • Bunch takes Lena to the boarding house where he lives and asks Mrs. Beard to give Lena a place to stay.
  • In the present, Bunch tells Hightower that Christmas is part black – everyone in town learned this yesterday.
  • The day of the fire, a young man from the country stumbled across the burning house and ran inside. He found Brown inside the house, drunk. Brown tells the man not to go upstairs and that there is no one up there.
  • The countryman went upstairs anyway and he found Miss Burden lying on the floor with her head almost entirely cut off. When he ran back downstairs, Brown was gone.
  • Miss Burden's nephew announces a $1,000 reward for whoever finds the killer.
  • Once he hears about the reward, Brown shows up at the sheriff's office saying it was Christmas who killed her. Brown tells the sheriff that Miss Burden bought the car for Christmas and that the two had been having an affair for years.
  • Sensing that the cops aren't believing his story, Brown blurts out that Christmas is biracial – so now this is suddenly a case of a black man killing a white woman.
  • The cops believe him now but they take him to jail anyway so he won't run away.
  • In the present, Bunch tells Hightower that he hasn't yet told Lena that Brown is in jail.

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