Czesław Miłosz was a Polish-American poet, prose writer and diplomat. Regarded as one of the great poets of the twentieth century, he won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature; the Swedish Academy, in its Nobel citation, described Miłosz as a writer who “voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts.”Miłosz survived the German occupation of Warsaw during World War II and became a cultural attaché for the Polish government during the post-war period. When communist authorities threatened his safety, he defected to France and chose exile in the United States, where he became a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, his poetry—particularly about his wartime experience—and his appraisal of Stalinism in a prose book, The Captive Mind, brought him renown as a leading émigré artist and intellectual. Throughout his life and work, Miłosz tackled questions of morality, politics and faith; as a translator, he introduced Western works to a Polish audience, as a scholar and editor, he championed a greater awareness of Slavic literature in the West.
Faith played a role in his work. Miłosz died in Kraków, Poland, in 2004, he is interred in Skałka, a church, known in Poland as a place of honor for distinguished Poles. Czesław Miłosz was born on June 30, 1911, in the village of Szetejnie, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire, he was the son of Aleksander Miłosz, a Polish civil engineer, Weronika. Miłosz was born into a notable family. On his mother’s side, his grandfather was Zygmunt Kunat, a descendant of a Polish family that could trace its lineage to the thirteenth century, which owned an estate in Krasnogruda. Having studied agriculture in Warsaw, Zygmunt settled in Szetejnie after marrying Miłosz’s grandmother, Jozefa, a descendant of the noble Syruć family, of Lithuanian origin. One of her ancestors, Szymon Syruć, had been personal secretary to Stanislaw I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. On Miłosz’s father’s side, his grandfather, Artur Miłosz, was from a noble family and fought in the 1863 January Uprising for Polish independence.
Miłosz’s grandmother, Stanisława, was a doctor’s daughter from Riga, a member of the German/Polish von Mohl family. The Miłosz estate was located in Serbiny, a name which Miłosz’s biographer, Andrzej Franaszek, has noted could suggest a Serbian origin—it is possible the Miłosz family originated in Serbia and settled in present-day Lithuania after being expelled from Germany centuries earlier. Miłosz's father was educated in Riga. Miłosz's mother was educated in Kraków. Despite this noble lineage, Miłosz’s childhood on his maternal grandfather’s estate in Szetejnie was not filled with the trappings of wealth or the customs of the upper class, he memorialized his childhood in a 1955 novel, The Issa Valley, in a 1959 memoir, Native Realm. In these works, he described the influence of his Catholic grandmother, his burgeoning love for literature, his early awareness, as a member of the Polish gentry in Lithuania, of the role of class in society. Miłosz’s early years were marked by upheaval; when his father was hired to work on infrastructure projects in Siberia, he and his mother traveled to be with him.
After World War I broke out in 1914, Miłosz’s father was conscripted into the Russian army, tasked with engineering roads and bridges for troop movements. Miłosz and his mother were sheltered in Wilno when the German army captured it in 1915. Afterward, they once again joined Miłosz’s father, following him as the front moved further into Russia, where, in 1917, Miłosz’s brother, was born. After moving through Estonia and Latvia, the family returned to their home in Szetejnie in 1918. However, the Polish-Soviet War broke out in 1919, during which Miłosz’s father was involved in a failed attempt to incorporate the newly independent Lithuania into the Second Polish Republic, resulting in his expulsion from Lithuania and the family’s move to Wilno, which had become part of Poland after the Polish-Lithuanian War of 1920; the Polish-Soviet War continued. At one point during the conflict, Miłosz and his mother were fired upon by Polish soldiers, an episode Miłosz recounted in his memoir, Native Realm.
The family returned to Wilno when the war ended in 1921. Despite the interruptions of wartime wanderings, Miłosz proved to be an exceptional student with a facility for languages, he learned Polish, Russian, English and Hebrew. After graduation from Sigismund Augustus Gymnasium in Wilno, he entered Stefan Batory University in 1929 as a law student. While at university, Miłosz joined a student group called The Intellectuals’ Club and a student poetry group called Żagary, along with the young poets Jerzy Zagórski, Teodor Bujnicki, Aleksander Rymkiewicz, Jerzy Putrament, Józef Maśliński, his first published poems appeared in the university’s student magazine in 1930. In 1931, he visited Paris, where he first met his distant cousin, Oscar Miłosz, a French-language poet of Lithuanian descent who had become a Swedenborgian. Oscar became a inspiration. Returning to Wilno, Miłosz’s early awareness of class difference, his sympathy for those less fortunate than himself, inspired his defense of Jewish students at the university who were being harassed by an anti-Semitic mob.
Stepping between the mob and the Jewish students, Miłosz fended off attacks. One student was killed. Miłosz's first volume of poetry, A Poem on Frozen Time, was published
As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying is a 1930 novel, in the genre of Southern Gothic, by American author William Faulkner. Faulkner said that he wrote the novel from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course of six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. Faulkner wrote it while working at a power plant, published it in 1930, described it as a "tour de force". Faulkner's fifth novel, it is ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature; the title derives from Book XI of Homer's Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon tells Odysseus: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades." The novel utilizes stream of consciousness writing technique, multiple narrators, varying chapter lengths. The book is narrated by 15 different characters over 59 chapters, it is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her poor, rural family's quest and motivations—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in her hometown of Jefferson, Mississippi. As the book opens, Addie is alive.
Addie and others expect her to die soon, she sits at a window watching as her firstborn, builds her coffin. Anse, Addie's husband, waits on the porch, while their daughter, Dewey Dell, fans her mother in the July heat; the night after Addie dies. The family's trek by wagon begins, with Addie's non-embalmed body in the coffin. Along the way and the five children encounter various difficulties. Anse rejects any offers of assistance, including meals or lodging, so at times the family goes hungry and sleeps in barns. At other times he refuses to accept loans from people, claiming he wishes to "be beholden to no man", thus manipulating the would-be-lender into giving him charity as a gift not to be repaid. Jewel, Addie's middle child, tries to leave his dysfunctional family, yet cannot turn his back on them through the trials. Cash breaks a leg and winds up riding atop the coffin, he refuses to admit to any discomfort, but the family puts a makeshift cast of concrete on his leg. Twice, the family loses Addie's coffin — first, while crossing a river on a washed-out bridge, second, when a fire of suspicious origin starts in the barn where the coffin is being stored for a night.
After nine days, the family arrives in Jefferson, where the stench from the coffin is smelled by the townspeople. In town, family members have different items of business to take care of. Cash's broken leg needs attention. Dewey Dell, for the second time in the novel, goes to a pharmacy, trying to obtain an abortion that she does not know how to ask for. First, Anse wants to borrow some shovels to bury Addie, because, the purpose of the trip and the family should be together for that. Before that happens, Darl, the second eldest, is seized for the arson of the barn and sent to the Mississippi State Insane Asylum in Jackson. With Addie only just buried, Anse forces Dewey Dell to give up her money, which he spends on getting "new teeth", marries the woman from whom he borrowed the spades; as is many of Faulkner's works, the story is set in Yoknapatawpha County, which Faulkner referred to as "my apocryphal county", a fictional rendition of the writer's home of Lafayette County in the same state.
Addie Bundren – Addie is the wife of Anse and the mother of Cash, Jewel, Dewey Dell, Vardaman. Anse Bundren – Anse is Addie's widower, the father of all the children but Jewel. Cash Bundren – Cash is a skilled and helpful carpenter and the eldest son of the family. In his late twenties, he builds Addie's coffin. Darl Bundren – The second eldest of Addie's children, Darl is about two years younger than Cash. Darl is the most articulate character in the book. Jewel Bundren – Jewel is the third of the Bundren children, most around nineteen years of age. A half-brother to the other children and the favorite of Addie, he is the illegitimate son of Addie and Reverend Whitfield. Most, if not all, of the characters other than Addie seem unaware of this. Dewey Dell Bundren – Dewey Dell is the only daughter of Anse and Addie Bundren. Vardaman Bundren – Vardaman is the youngest Bundren child, somewhere between seven and ten years old. Vernon Tull – Vernon is a good friend of the Bundrens, who appears in the book as a good farmer, less religious than his wife.
Cora Tull – Cora is the wife of Vernon Tull, a neighbor of Addie's, with her at her death. She is religious and this shows in her language. Eula Tull – Cora and Vernon's daughter. Kate Tull – Cora and Vernon's other daughter. Peabody – Peabody is the Bundrens' doctor. Anse sends for him shortly before Addie's death; this is far too late for Peabody to do anything more than to watch Addie die. Toward the end of the book, when he is working on Cash's leg, Peabody gives an excellent assessment of Anse and the entire Bundren family from the perspective of the community at large. Dr. Peabody is a recurring character in the Yoknapatawpha County universe. Lafe – Lafe is a farmer who has impregnated Dewey Dell and given her $10 to get an abortion. Reverend Whitfield – Whitfield is the local minister with whom Addie had an affair, resulting in the birth of Jewel. Samson – Samson is a local farmer who lets the Bundren family stay with him the first night on their journey to Jefferson. Samson's wife, Rachel, is disgusted with the way the family is treating Addie by dragging her coffin through the countryside.
Other narrators: MacGowan and Armstid Throughout the novel, Faulkner presents 15 different points of
Flags in the Dust
Flags in the Dust is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, completed in 1927. His publisher edited the manuscript with Faulkner's reluctant consent, removing about 40,000 words in the process; that version was published as Sartoris in 1929. Faulkner's original manuscript of Flags in the Dust was published in 1973, Sartoris was subsequently taken out of print; the novel deals with the decay of an aristocratic southern family just after the end of World War I. The wealthy Sartoris family of Jefferson, lives under the shadow of its dead patriarch, Colonel John Sartoris. Colonel John was a Confederate cavalry officer during the Civil War, built the local railroad, is a folk hero; the surviving Sartorises are his younger sister, Virginia Du Pre, his son Bayard Sartoris, his great-grandson Bayard Sartoris. The novel begins with the return of young Bayard Sartoris to Jefferson from the First World War. Bayard and his twin brother John, killed in action, were fighter pilots. Young Bayard is haunted by the death of his brother.
In addition to feeling intense survivor guilt, Bayard senses instinctively that everyone in town liked John better. Both were superb athletes, fearless fighters, but as Aunt Jenny points out, "Johnny" Sartoris was friendly and good-natured to old and young alike, while Bayard was cold and moody before the war; as a result of all this, Bayard secretly feels. That and the family disposition for foolhardy acts push him into a pattern of self-destructive behavior reckless driving in a purchased automobile. Young Bayard crashes the car off a bridge. During the convalescence which follows, he establishes a relationship with Narcissa Benbow, whom he marries. Despite promises to Narcissa to stop driving recklessly, he gets into a near wreck with old Bayard in the car, causing old Bayard to die of a heart attack. Young Bayard disappears from Jefferson, he dies test-flying an experimental airplane on the day of his son’s birth In the autumn or winter of 1926, William Faulkner, twenty-nine, began work on the first of his novels about Yoknapatawpha County.
Sherwood Anderson had told him some time before that he should write about his native Mississippi, now Faulkner took that advice: he used his own land, peopled it with men and women who were drawn from real life, depicted as they should have been in some ideal mythopoeic structure. A year on September 29, 1927, the new novel was completed, it was 596 pages long in transcript, he called it Flags in the Dust. Full of enthusiasm, Faulkner sent Flags in the Dust up to Horace Liveright in New York. Liveright read it, disliked it, sent it back with his firm recommendation that Faulkner not try to offer it for publication anywhere else: it was too diffuse, too lacking in plot and structure. Faulkner, showed Flags in the Dust to several of his friends, who shared Liveright's opinion. Despite the adversity Faulkner had faced, he still believed that this would be the book that would make his name as a writer, for several months he tried to edit it himself, sitting at his worktable in Oxford. Discouraged, he sent a new typescript off to Ben Wasson, his agent in New York.
"Will you please try to sell this for me?" he asked Wasson. "I can't afford all the postage it's costing me." In the meantime, convinced that he would never become a successful novelist, Faulkner began to work on a book that he was sure would never mean anything to anyone but himself: The Sound and the Fury. Wasson tried eleven publishers, he gave the typescript to Harrison Smith an editor of Harcourt, Brace & Company. Smith liked it, showed it to Alfred Harcourt, who agreed to publish it, provided that someone other than Faulkner perform the extensive cutting job that Harcourt felt was necessary. For fifty dollars, Wasson agreed to pare down his client's novel. On September 20, 1928, Faulkner received a contract for the book, now to be called Sartoris, to be about 110,000 words long, and, to be delivered to Harcourt, Brace sixteen days later. Faulkner left for New York to help Wasson with his revision, but when he sat down in Wasson's apartment to observe the operation on his novel, Faulkner found himself unable to participate.
If it were cut, he felt, it would die. Wasson persisted, pointing out that the trouble with Flags in the Dust was that it was not one novel, but six, all struggling along simultaneously. This, to Faulkner, was praise: evidence of fecundity and fullness of vision, evidence that the world of Yoknapatawpha was rich enough to last; as he wrote of his third novel, "I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it." Wasson kept his bargain with Alfred Harcourt. For the next two weeks, while Faulkner sat nearby writing The Sound and the Fury, Wasson went through the typescript of Flags in the Dust, making cuts of every sort until a fourth of the book had been excised. Harcourt, Brace published this truncated version on January 31, 1929, as Sartoris, the old Flags in the Dust was soon forgotten - by everyone but Faulkner. Faulkner had preserved the original holograph manuscript of Fla
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, object, site, or structure, recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks. A National Historic Landmark District may include contributing properties that are buildings, sites or objects, it may include non-contributing properties. Contributing properties may or may not be separately listed. Prior to 1935, efforts to preserve cultural heritage of national importance were made by piecemeal efforts of the United States Congress. In 1935, Congress passed the Historic Sites Act, which authorized the Interior Secretary authority to formally record and organize historic properties, to designate properties as having "national historical significance", gave the National Park Service authority to administer significant federally owned properties. Over the following decades, surveys such as the Historic American Buildings Survey amassed information about culturally and architecturally significant properties in a program known as the Historic Sites Survey.
Most of the designations made under this legislation became National Historic Sites, although the first designation, made December 20, 1935, was for a National Memorial, the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri; the first National Historic Site designation was made for the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on March 17, 1938. In 1960, the National Park Service took on the administration of the survey data gathered under this legislation, the National Historic Landmark program began to take more formal shape; when the National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966, the National Historic Landmark program was encompassed within it, rules and procedures for inclusion and designation were formalized. Because listings triggered local preservation laws, legislation in 1980 amended the listing procedures to require owner agreement to the designations. On October 9, 1960, 92 properties were announced as designated NHLs by Secretary of the Interior Fred A. Seaton; the first of these was a political nomination: the Sergeant Floyd Monument in Sioux City, Iowa was designated on June 30 of that year, but for various reasons, the public announcement of the first several NHLs was delayed.
NHLs are designated by the United States Secretary of the Interior because they are: Sites where events of national historical significance occurred. More than 2,500 NHLs have been designated. Most, but not all, are in the United States. There are the District of Columbia. Three states account for nearly 25 percent of the nation's NHLs. Three cities within these states all separately have more NHLs than 40 of the 50 states. In fact, New York City alone has more NHLs than all but five states: Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. There are 74 NHLs in the District of Columbia; some NHLs are in U. S. commonwealths and territories, associated states, foreign states. There are 15 in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, other U. S. territories. S.-associated states such as Micronesia. Over 100 ships or shipwrecks have been designated as NHLs. About half of the National Historic Landmarks are owned; the National Historic Landmarks Program relies on suggestions for new designations from the National Park Service, which assists in maintaining the landmarks.
A friends' group of owners and managers, the National Historic Landmark Stewards Association, works to preserve and promote National Historic Landmarks. If not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an NHL is automatically added to the Register upon designation. About three percent of Register listings are NHLs. American Water Landmark List of U. S. National Historic Landmarks by state List of churches that are National Historic Landmarks in the United States Listed building, a similar designation in the UK National Historic Sites and Persons, similar designations in Canada National Natural Landmark United States Memorials United States National Register of Historic Places listings Official National Historic Landmarks Program website A History of the NHL Program List of National Historic Landmarks National Historic Landmarks: Archaeological Properties Historical Landmarks - United States Lighthouses
Oxford is a city in, the county seat of, Lafayette County, United States. Founded in 1837, it was named after the British university city of Oxford in hopes of having the state university located there, which it did attract; as of the 2010 US Census, the population is 18,916. Oxford is the home of the University of Mississippi, founded in 1848 commonly known as "Ole Miss". Oxford and Lafayette County were formed from lands ceded by the Chickasaw in the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek in 1832; the county was organized in 1836, in 1837 three pioneers—John Martin, John Chisom, John Craig—purchased land from Hoka, a female Chickasaw landowner, as a site for the town. They named it Oxford, intending to promote it as a center of learning in the Old Southwest. In 1841, the Mississippi legislature selected Oxford as the site of the state university, which opened in 1848. During the American Civil War, Oxford suffered invasion by federal troops under Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman in 1862. In the postwar Reconstruction Era, the town recovered aided by federal judge Robert Andrews Hill, who secured funds to build a new courthouse in 1872.
During this period many African American freedmen moved from farms into town and established a neighborhood known as "Freedmen Town", where they built houses, businesses and schools, exercised all the rights of citizenship. After Mississippi disenfranchised most African Americans in the Constitution of 1890, they continued to build their lives in the face of discrimination. During the Civil Rights Movement, Oxford drew national attention in the Ole Miss riot of 1962. State officials, including Governor Ross Barnett, prevented James Meredith, an African American, from enrolling at the University of Mississippi after the federal courts had ruled that he be admitted. In late September 1962, President John F. Kennedy, following secret face-saving negotiations with Barnett, ordered United States Marshals to accompany Meredith, while Barnett agreed to use Highway State Police to keep the peace. Thousands of armed "volunteers" flowed into the Oxford area. Meredith traveled to Oxford under armed guard to register, but riots by segregationists broke out in protest of his admittance.
That evening, cars were burned, federal marshals were pelted with rocks and small arms fire, university property was damaged by three thousand rioters. Two men were killed by gunshot wounds; the riot spread into adjacent areas of the city of Oxford. Order was restored to the campus with the early morning arrival of nationalized Mississippi National Guard and regular U. S. Army units, who camped in the City. More than 3000 journalists came to Oxford on September 26, 2008 to cover the first presidential debate of 2008, held at the University of Mississippi. Oxford is within 100 miles of Tennessee. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.0 square miles, of which 10.0 square miles is land and 0.10% is water. The city is located in the North Central Hills region of Mississippi; the region is known for its forested hills made up of red clay. The area is higher and greater in relief than areas to the west, but lower in elevation than areas in Northeast Mississippi.
The changes in elevation can be noticed when traveling on the Highway 6 bypass since the east-west highway tends to transect many of the north-south ridges. Downtown Oxford sits on one of these ridges and the University of Mississippi sits on another one, while the main commercial corridors on either side of the city sit in valleys. Oxford is located at the confluence of highways from eight directions: Mississippi Highway 6 runs west to Batesville and east to Pontotoc. Highway 30 goes northeast to New Albany; the streets in the downtown area follow a grid pattern with two naming conventions. Many of the north-south streets are numbered from west to east, beginning at the old railroad depot, with numbers from four to nineteen; the place of "Twelfth Street," however, is taken by South Lamar Boulevard. The east-west avenues are named for the U. S. presidents in chronological order from north from Washington to Cleveland. Oxford is in hardiness zone 7b; as of the census of 2010, there were 18,916 people, with 8,648 households residing in the city.
The racial makeup of the city was 72.3% White, 21.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.5% of the population. The average household size was 2.09. The median income for a household in the city was $38,872, the average household income was $64,643; the per capita income for the city was $29,195. About 12% of families and 32.3% of the population were below the poverty line. The City of Oxford is served by two public school districts, Oxford School District and Lafayette County School District, three private schools, Oxford University School, Regents School of Oxford and
Light in August
Light in August is a 1932 novel by the Southern American author William Faulkner. It belongs to modernist literary genres. Set in the author's present day, the interwar period, the novel centers on two strangers who arrive at different times in Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, a fictional county based on Faulkner's home, Lafayette County, Mississippi; the plot first focuses on Lena Grove, a young pregnant white woman from Alabama looking for the father of her unborn child, shifts to explore the life of Joe Christmas, a man who has settled in Jefferson and passes as white, but who secretly believes he has some black ancestry. After a series of flashbacks narrating Christmas's early life, the plot resumes with his living and working with Lucas Burch, the father of Lena's child, who fled to Jefferson and changed his name when he found out that Lena was pregnant; the woman on whose property Christmas and Burch have been living, Joanna Burden, a descendant of Yankee abolitionists hated by the citizens of Jefferson, is murdered.
Burch is caught at the scene of the crime and reveals that Christmas had been romantically involved with her and is part black, thus implying that he is guilty of her murder. While Burch sits in jail awaiting his reward for turning in Christmas, Lena is assisted by Byron Bunch, a shy, mild-mannered bachelor who falls in love with her. Bunch seeks the aid of another outcast in the town, the disgraced former minister Gail Hightower, to help Lena give birth and protect Christmas from being lynched. Though Hightower refuses the latter, Christmas escapes to his house and is shot and castrated by a state guardsman. Burch leaves town without his reward, the novel ends with an anonymous man recounting a story to his wife about some hitchhikers he picked up on the road to Tennessee—a woman with a child and a man, not the father of the child, both looking for the woman's husband. In a loose, unstructured modernist narrative style that draws from Christian allegory and oral storytelling, Faulkner explores themes of race, sex and religion in the American South.
By focusing on characters that are misfits, outcasts, or are otherwise marginalized in their community, he portrays the clash of alienated individuals against a Puritanical, prejudiced rural society. Early reception of the novel was mixed, with some reviewers critical of Faulkner's style and subject matter. However, over time, the novel has come to be considered one of the most important literary works by Faulkner and one of the best English-language novels of the 20th century; the novel is set in the American South in the 1930s, during the time of Prohibition and Jim Crow laws that legalized racial segregation in the South. It begins with the journey of Lena Grove, a young pregnant white woman from Doane's Mill, trying to find Lucas Burch, the father of her unborn child, he has been fired from his job at Doane's Mill and moved to Mississippi, promising to send word to her when he has a new job. Not hearing from Burch and harassed by her older brother for her illegitimate pregnancy, Lena walks and hitchhikes to Jefferson, Mississippi, a town in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County.
There she expects to find Lucas working at another planing mill, ready to marry her. Those who help her along her four-week trek are skeptical that Lucas Burch will be found, or that he will keep his promise when she catches up with him; when she arrives in Jefferson, Lucas is there. Looking for Lucas, trusting Lena meets shy, mild-mannered Byron Bunch, who falls in love with Lena but feels honor-bound to help her find Joe Brown. Thoughtful and religious, Byron is superior to Brown in every way but his shyness prevents him from revealing his feelings to Lena; the novel switches to the second plot strand, the story of Lucas Burch/Joe Brown's partner Joe Christmas. The surly, psychopathic Christmas has been on the run for years since killing his strict Methodist adopted father. Although he has light skin, Christmas suspects. Consumed with rage, he is a bitter outcast who wanders between black and white society provoking fights with blacks and whites alike. Christmas comes to Jefferson three years prior to the central events of the novel and gets a job at the mill where Byron, Joe Brown, works.
The job at the mill is a cover for Christmas's bootlegging operation, illegal under Prohibition. He has a sexual relationship with Joanna Burden, an older woman who descended from a powerful abolitionist family whom the town despises as carpetbaggers. Though their relationship is passionate at first, Joanna begins menopause and turns to religion, which frustrates and angers Christmas. At the end of her relationship with Christmas, Joanna tries to force him, at gunpoint, to kneel and pray. Joanna is murdered soon after: she is nearly decapitated; the novel leaves readers uncertain whether Joe Joe Brown is the murderer. Brown is Christmas' business partner in bootlegging and is leaving Joanna's burning house when a passing farmer stops to investigate and pull Joanna's body from the fire; the sheriff at first suspects Joe Brown, but initiates a manhunt for Christmas after Brown claims that Christmas is black. The manhunt is fruitless until Christmas arrives undisguised in a neighboring town. In Mottstown, he is arrested and jailed moved to Jefferson.
His grandparents arrive in town and visit Gail Hightower, the disgraced former minister of the town and friend of Byron Bunch. Bunch tries to convince Hightower to give the imprisoned Joe Christmas an alibi, but Hightower refuses. Though his grandfather wants