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Faulkner and Whiteness$
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Jay Watson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617030208

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617030208.001.0001

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date: 22 September 2018

American Emergencies

American Emergencies

Whiteness, the National Guard, and Light in August

(p.189) American Emergencies
Faulkner and Whiteness

Chuck Jackson

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores the historical development of new forms of military defense in the early twentieth century, such as the National Guard, and how this process was explicitly racialized in the Jim Crow South. It looks at the National Guard’s emergence in the figure of Percy Grimm in William Faulkner’s 1932 novel Light in August, focusing on its “promise of militarized modernization” reserved almost exclusively for white men, and how it “assisted in disciplining and federalizing a whiteness that belonged to the masses...and thus resignified local or regional whiteness as the official domain of the U.S. military.” The chapter considers how Faulkner critically “reimagines whiteness as tied to the horror of state-based violence” in modern America by showing the National Guard’s collapse into its ostensible opposite, the lynch mob.

Keywords:   military, National Guard, South, William Faulkner, Light in August, white men, whiteness, state-based violence, lynch mob

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