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In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” Faulkner tells the story of Emily Grierson a daughter of a well to do family that struggles with her place in life and the expectations of those around her. At first look, the conflict seems to be between Emily and the townspeople that look in on her. However, as one reads through the exposition that is woven throughout it becomes clear that the conflict is more internal as Emily deals with the effects of her upbringing versus the societal expectations placed upon her. It seems that her childhood was not a pleasant one as she expresses no real grief for the passing of her father (Faulkner, 42).
Faulkner hints at possible events going on with Emily that neither the reader nor the townspeople get the full story on. This method drives rising action throughout. An example of this is when Emily goes to purchase poison from the druggist but refuses to disclose its intended use (Faulkner, 44). This causes speculation from others that point to her possibly committing suicide, but Faulkner keeps the reader in suspense as the poison’s true use does not become evident until the end of the story.
All the hinting and speculation about Emily and her supposed husband or husband to be comes to a climax near the end of the story after Emily’s passing. The townspeople gain access to a sealed off room in Emily’s house. Here they find a body which one could surmise was that of her husband Homer Barron (Faulkner, 46). It’s unclear what caused Emily to murder him, but it probably ties back to her up bringing and possibly a fear of abandonment.
Faulkner utilizes suspense heavily throughout this story. He gives the reader enough to stay engaged and force emotion but keeps them in the dark on many details until the timing is right.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, edited by Michael Meyer and D Quentin Miller, 12th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s 2020, pp. 40-46.
Peer Response Parameters:
- Posts are at least 100 words
- Posts build upon your peers’ experiences and ideas
- Posts do not reiterate the content of a peer’s initial response instead, they add something new to the conversation by expressing a different perspective
- In your reply, speak to a different plot from one of the works read this week. How was the plot similar to and/or different from the work described in the original post?
Discussion Question 1
The story “The Flowers” by Alice Walker is a powerful and evocative story that explores the themes of race, innocence, and the human condition through the characterization of its protagonist, Myop. The story uses vivid imagery and a third-person point of view. The author develops Myop as a young, innocent girl who is slowly exposed to the world’s harsh realities.
Myop is first introduced as a carefree and curious child fascinated by the natural world’s beauty. She is described as a girl who enjoys exploring and wondering “lightly from hen house to pigpen to smokehouse” (Walker 38). She is also described as brave, “unafraid to free herself” (Walker 39). Myop is fascinated by nature’s beauty; specifically the flowers and animals she encounters on her journey to the woods.
As the story progresses, Myop’s innocence is gradually shattered as she comes across the body of a man who has been lynched. This traumatic experience leaves her in shock. The imagery used to describe the man’s body is disturbing, and it is clear that Myop is horrified by what she sees; the author describes the scene of the noose as “frayed, rotted, bleached, and frazzled” (Walker 39). Myop gets overwhelmed with fear and confusion and lays down her flowers.
Additionally, this event is a turning point in Myop’s development as a character. She is no longer the innocent child who wanders through the fields and forests but a person who has been exposed to the harsh realities of the world. The world is not the beautiful place she knew; human nature has a dark side. Myop’s realization is conveyed through her being filled with a lot of fear after finding the body of a dead man and laying down her flowers.
To conclude, the story is a powerful and evocative exploration of the human experience, and Myop is the lead character. The story describes Myop’s character as she wanders through the fields and forests. She is later filled with fear and confusion as she confronts the brutal reality of the world after finding the body of a lynched man in the woods.
Walker, Alice. “The Flowers.”
The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, edited by Michael Meyer and D Quentin Miller, 12th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s 2020, pp. 38-39
Discussion Response Examples
Discussion Question 1
Authors are not going to come out and explicitly write every detail of a story. However, as readers it is our job to be aware of the setting and the clues provided by the author. As I read “The Story of an Hour,” I noticed how everything takes place in Mrs. Mallard’s house, which is a very small space. However, we have to take into consideration that the story only takes an hour, and the characters don’t really have many places to go. Additionally, the imagery was beautifully incorporated by the author, which helped me as a reader better understand how Mrs. Mallard felt after receiving the news of her husband’s death from her sister and her friend Richard.
Furthermore, the space limitation helped express the themes of the story because, symbolically, it got me thinking that maybe that’s how Mrs. Mallard felt about her life: trapped. Even though she clearly loved her husband, when she goes to her room and says “free, free, free,” it implies that she was dissatisfied with her wife duties, given that women were only expected to procreate and be wives at the time, while men had more power in society. The author writes, “There would be no one to live for during those coming years, she would live for herself” (Chopin). Her first reaction was to go to her room and open the window, indicating that she desperately wanted to be free. When she finally decides to open the door for her sister, who was constantly asking her to open the door, they go downstairs, and right in that instant she sees her husband returning. Moments later, she dies from a heart disease, showcasing how deeply disappointed she was.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, edited by Michael Meyer and D Quentin Miller, 12th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s 2020, pp. 15-16.
Hello, Rosery it felt appropriate to respond to your discussion since it was similar to mine, even though I had a different narrative to draw upon. The author of “Everline” included imagery throughout the text to establish the mood and setting. Due to Everline’s experience of feeling submerged, these stories are related. She had to look after her family, yet she still managed to meet the guy she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She wanted to be free but thought she couldn’t since her family came first. She was paralyzed with dread. Both the author and the tone were represented through visuals. Since Mrs. Mallard wanted to be accessible yet felt confined, I believe Everline felt the same way in her predicament about her mother and the subsequent need to care for her family.
Discussion question 2;
The significance of the water imagery is simply stating that the sea is representing the great unknown and it’s key because at the end of the story Eveline’s decision to leave is a difficult one due to the unknowns of leaving and “all the seas of the world tumbled about her heart’ which is describing her actual heart and the health issues she faces with palpitations. Just Eveline’s thought of leaving her home of Dublin is causing a rollercoaster of emotions and stress and the obvious heart palpitations. The statement of drowning is not drowning for real but the fact is she feels Frank is pressuring her into leaving, and that’s the thought of drowning. The sea also is a clear representation of freedom which she is also afraid of.
I think the main reason for Evelin not leaving has to be because of the promise she had made to her mother before her mothers death and that was that her mother asked her to “keep the home together as long as she can”. This decision to not leave is brought about from her mothers promise and even though her father is abusive she proclaims that it is her job as a women to take care of her father. Eveline is very familiar with death and discusses all the people who have died or left her behind. In conclusion Eveline is in fact not in love with Frank, she just seen him as an escape from her current life and therefore decided to not leave with Frank because of the responsibilities she claimed she had and overall her promise to her mother to never get separated.
Joyce, James, 1882-1941. “Eveline”. Dubliners. New York, N.Y. :New American Library, 1991
I used the other short story in my response however I can see some of the parallels being used through the use of imagery and setting.
In the work that I looked at the author used the setting as another form of restriction against the character, in this story it was a house that she was living in with her husband.
Looking at your response it looks like there is a very similar concept happening between the two stories, this being that in your short story, the promise the character made to her mother about “keeping the house together” is also quite impactful.
This concept of being restrained and tied down through the use of an object (which in both stories it is actually the same object (as house))) demonstrated a pretty obvious parallel in the use of setting.
Discussion Question 1
The Story of an Hour is a short story by Kate Chopin that takes place over a very short time. The story’s main character is Louise Mallard, who has just received the news of the death of her husband. The story’s events primarily occur in her bedroom, the staircase, and the front door of her home. The actions are confined to a small space to express essential themes.
The limited space symbolizes the suffocating nature of Louise’s life. Louise’s room is described as “a comfortable, roomy armchair” in which she sits and weeps when she first hears the news of her husband’s death (Chopin 15). Also, the armchair is symbolic; it shows the mental and emotional turmoil experienced in the marriage. The limited setting also allows the author to focus on the psychological state of Louise Mallard and examine her internal emotions, thoughts, and feelings. As a result, it makes it easy for readers to enter the mind of Louise and have an insight into the struggles she goes through as a woman in a traditional and patriarchal society.
Moreover, the staircase and front door represents the possibility of escape and freedom. When Louise initially hears the news of her husband’s death, she retreats to her room and sits in the armchair. However, as she begins to process the news and imagine life without her husband, she becomes increasingly excited at the thought of her newfound freedom. The imagery of the staircase and front door heightens the emotion, which symbolizes the path to freedom and autonomy.
Additionally, Louise experiences emotional turmoil as she fights against societal expectations: “she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She seemed to be oppressed by a great weight of mystery” (Chopin 16). She was feeling miserable about losing her husband and also wanted to embrace her newfound freedom.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.”
The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, edited by Michael Meyer and D Quentin Miller, 12th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s 2020, pp. 15-16.
Alice even though our short stories are different they are both common to one another. In your story a woman (Louise) is trapped in a marriage she isn’t happy with as compared to the story I read has a girl who is not happy with her life with her father due to being a drunk and mother had passed away and both want to escape their current lives.
Both suffer from a whirlwind of emotions while trying to process and imagine life outside their current ones but the stress of the unknowns take a toll on them. Louise eventually dies from her heart disease where as the girl in my story Eveline has health palpitations as well and are worsened from the stress and worries of the great unknown but in the end Eveline ultimately decides to keep her promise to her mother and stay and not leave with her lover Frank in the end. Good post.