Light in August: Character Profiles

Character Profiles Bobbie
At the age of 18, Christmas has a relationship with Bobbie, ‘the waitress’ and prostitute.
Brown/Lucas Burch
This character arrives in Jefferson and uses the alias Brown after leaving his pregnant lover, Lena Grove. He is described as foolish and unlikeable and joins Christmas in his bootlegging venture. He provides the testimony against Christmas that leads to his arrest and his evidence includes the revelation that Christmas told him he was of mixed race.
Byron Bunch
Prior to the arrival of Lena Grove, Byron had been a hardworking employee at the planing mill. He is described as steadfast, conscientious and set in his ways. After meeting her, his life alters immeasurably as he falls in love with her and attempts to protect her.
This is a former minister who has become an outcast in Jefferson after the death of his wife. His desire to live and work in this town was inspired by his grandfather’s death and was all-encompassing. Byron is his only friend.
Hines (Uncle Doc/Eupheus)
Hines is the grandfather of Joe Christmas and an irredeemable racist. He allowed his daughter to die in childbirth and then took Christmas to an orphanage.
Joe Christmas
Christmas is one of the main characters. He is a stranger to Jefferson and is correctly accused of killing his lover Miss Burden after living in the town for three years. From an early age, he has believed he is of mixed race, although he looks like a white person. His heritage torments him and is seen to be central to his thoughts. It is also apparent that the possibility that he is not white is a major concern for others too. Through the depictions of his self-torment and treatment by others, the novel is able to offer a damning indictment of racism in the South.
Lena Grove
She is pregnant by Lucas Burch (who calls himself Brown) at the beginning of the novel and arrives in Jefferson to find him. Byron falls in love with her almost immediately and he attempts to care for her. At the end of the novel, it is apparent that she enjoys the surprises of travelling.
This is the adoptive father of Christmas. He is characterized by his zealous religious beliefs and his brutal treatment of Christmas as a boy.
Miss Burden
Miss Burden is the lover of Christmas and is murdered by him. She is described as a spinster and is isolated in the community because of her ancestors’ connections to the North and their disavowal of slavery.

Mrs Hines
This is the maternal grandmother of Christmas. She has been separated from him for over thirty years and did not even know if he were alive or dead until his arrest in Mottstown.
Mrs McEachern
She is the adoptive mother of Christmas and is despised by him for her secrecy and manipulative behavior.
Percy Grimm
As an officious member of the National Guard, he finds and kills Christmas.