Hightower, Father of Gail

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Hightower, Father of Gail
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The son of one Gail Hightower and the father of another, this man is never given a first name in Light in August. A "man of spartan sobriety" (472), in the years before the Civil War he "rides sixteen miles each Sunday to preach in a small Presbyterian chapel back in the hills" (468). He also opposes slavery and refuses to be served by his father's slaves. Despite his sentiments, which he learns to call "abolitionist" when that word "percolates down from the North" (472), he serves in the Confederate army during the Civil War, "praying and preaching to troops on Sunday mornings" (473). He "never fires a gun," but also learns medicine while "helping the doctors at the front," and after the War practices as a doctor. His son, who becomes afraid of him after finding his uniform coat in a trunk, is born when he is fifty.