A couple of thoughts, in case they matter at all. And I will surely
understand if you folks decide they don't.
1) I didn't get around to reading LIGHT IN AUGUST until last summer,
oddly enough. Certain ghosts from ABSALOM, ABSALOM! do haunt FINN,
though. Along with bits of BENITO CERENO and BLOOD MERIDIAN and
NOSTROMO and so on, and so on, and so on.
2) Ms. McCoy's reading of my work -- "If Huck is a mulatto, then he's
passing whether he knows it or not. No wonder he thinks race is
important. It's in his blood, right? 'Cause white folks don't ever
need to think about race, right?" -- is so willfully at odds with the
content of the novel and the widespread critical response to it (not
to mention my own intent, which, as I noted, may or may not carry any
weight), that it comes to me as a complete and utter astonishment.
I'd apologize to mankind for facilitating such a statement, if I felt
it derived from a credible reading.
As for whether or not attitudes like Finn's were al all possible in
the time period depicted, I will bow out of the discussion and leave
it to others. Thanks, all.