Unnamed Father of Joe Christmas

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Unnamed Father of Joe Christmas
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Unnamed Father of Joe Christmas
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Joe's biological father in Light in August is called "a fellow with the circus" who tries to ride off with Milly Hines on a dark rainy night, but is shot and killed by Milly's father (374). He and Milly are together long enough for her to get pregnant. His legacy to his son, who is given the name Joe Christmas in the Memphis orphanage, is the mystery of his own racial identity. Doc Hines is convinced he is a Negro, i.e. in the racist world of segregation, has "nigger blood" (374). Milly apparently tries to tell her parents "the man is a Mexican" (374). There's no real evidence of either: the novel makes his race a mystery that readers cannot solve, and one his son cannot escape.