After finishing Light in August I was left with this lingering taste of space-out. Whatever that tastes like. I think I was sitting in the dentist's office, of all places, waiting to get my teeth cleaned when I finished the story. I remember telling my mom who was also there, "I just finished Light in August" or something along those lines and then she said "Oh good." But then, poor me, I decided to add "but it's never over with these books really... there is just so much stuff to eat." This was after I kind of just stared at the last page for about a minute trying to understand the space-out that I was experiencing.
And I couldn't help but notice strong parallels between The Stanger and the end of Light in August, in that they both address the impact of society on ourselves and the accompanying philosophical ideas, which are extremely depressing and befuddling to say the least, atleast in my trying experiences. I still haven't pinned them down against the ground, and I guess I'm kind of getting used to the feeling of ongoingness or the feeling that the book is not done with me, because in a lot of ways, I think a good book has you in its clutches while you're reading it. Light in August certainly has a clutch on me. I'm particularly transfixed by the open-aired quality of the last line in the book where Lena reflects on her journey: "My, my" (I'm hearing 'Bernie's' lovely southern, womanly accent while I'm writing this...so beautiful) "A body does get around. Here we aint been coming from Alabama but two months, and now it's already Tennessee" (507). Hmmm....... I'm really struck by the diction of "body" in these last lines. Does she mean "somebody" or "nobody" or just a "body" and no "one" in the body, alluding to the Player/Pawn idea that came up quite a bit previously, maybe that our bodies are being controlled? Predeterminism? Fate? Wow. That's a strange idea. Maybe this a very existentialist comment, possibly that we're just moving and flowing throughout our entire lives, without any solid connections to others. It could also be very positive and empowering, in that Lena and the baby are able to elude societal standards that would keep them stuck in one place by remaining on the move. It's certainly not abrupt and it really isn't too explicit either. But, I think I actually love this calm, laid-back, continuous, flowing feeling to the end of the book. In addition to 'Bernie's' wonderful accent, I'm also hearing the song "Autumn Leaves" performed by Miles Davis. I think it's so reminiscent in its title and feel to the end of the book. Take a listen.