That Evening Sun


William Faulkner

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Themes and Colors
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in That Evening Sun, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Racism and Segregation

“That Evening Sun” is set in the early 1900s in the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi. Though slavery had been abolished in 1862, black people at the time of the story still did not have civil rights and were subject to extreme racial prejudice—often even working as servants for the same white families who had kept their grandparents as slaves. The corrosive effects of racial segregation are demonstrated through Faulkner’s tragic portrayal of Nancy

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Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia

Though “That Evening Sun” is narrated from Quentin’s adult point of view, much of the story deals with the impressions left on the Compson siblings as children. Faulkner uses the naive perspective of the children to suggest that racial categorization itself is childish, and to criticize the nostalgic way in which many white people, including Quentin, came to view the south as black people won more rights in society. Although Quentin is a child…

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Fear and Vulnerability

Nancy is portrayed as a vulnerable character in several ways throughout “That Evening Sun.” Due to the lack of civil rights for black people in this period, she has no one to defend her. As a woman, she is also physically more vulnerable to threats from men and, because she is poor, she is vulnerable in that she must make a living any way that she can—even this means undertaking a dangerous profession like prostitution…

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