Compare and Contrast of Two Short Stories Term Paper

Pages: 4 (967 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

English Literature

The two short stories, Faulkner's a Rose for Emily and Oates' Where are you Going, Where have you Been? both deal with a common theme of violence. However, both stories use violence as a symbol, or allegory, for an actual event in history and a method to subversively make a statement on the author's point-of-view as to that event. The result is two stories that, on their face, are rather gruesome and disturbing tales that serve as a symbolic critic of modern society.

William Faulkner's a Rose for Emily was published in 1930 was unique for its first person plural point-of-view and post-modern technique of telling the story in a non-chronological order. These styles are used to emphasize the bizarre nature and randomness of the violent acts that take place.

The story is about Emily Grierson, an eccentric spinster who has a generally odd life that stems from her odd relationship with her controlling and manipulating father and with her lover, Homer Barron. Emily's eccentricities are the talk of the town and rumors of her family's mental health problems run rampant. As the stories grow and her lover presumably returns North for work, Emily isolates herself from society. Not until her death do the townspeople realize that in fact Emily has been holed upstairs in her bedroom with the corpse of homer Barron, which thus explains the permeating stench that comes from their home.

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What makes this story compelling is the author's use of subtle narrative to tell the story. Everything the reader learns about Emily comes from the narrator and the town people, meaning that the reader becomes part of the local gossip. Although most of the detail of Emily's life is not directly stated, the reader is able to fill in the blanks through the gossip. For example, many readers find accept that Emily poisoned Homer with rat poison that she previously purchased. Further, the reason for her killing him is judged to because he was "not the marrying type."

Term Paper on Compare and Contrast of Two Short Stories Assignment

On another level, this story is an allegory for the Civil War and the continuing effect it had on the relations between the North and the South. For example, when Homer says he's leaving Emily, she murders him, which is an allusion to the South's secession and the North's subsequent military action and invasion. Emily's keeping of Homer's corpse in her house is representative of the North keeping the South as part of the country when the South is both economically and morally devastated from the brutal actions of the North. Further, Emily herself is symbolic of the North's continuation of its economic exploitation of the South for decades after the war, or after the South had been "killed." This allegory makes more sense when one considers the time period this story was written, during which the South was still significantly poorer than the North as a result of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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