A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily,” he builds up terror and suspense to the end where he then reveals that the protagonist, Emily, poisoned her lover and had been sleeping and cuddling his corpse for more than forty years. What Faulkner has illustrated here is called necrophilia, which is the erotic attraction to corpses. This here is an example of the gothic genre, which is a combination of horror and romance. In the story, the narrator does not take any sides and just tells the story as it is.
Everything that we know about Emily is told through the gossip of the townspeople. He uses a collective tone and always refers to himself as “we,” as if he or she is a member of the townspeople. For example, when the story unfolds, the narrators say “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral” (29). Since the narrator says “our whole town,” it is obvious that he or she belongs to the town William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” is a short story depicting a young boy’s struggle to choose between his family and doing what he knows is right.
The narrator and protagonist, Sarty Snopes, is torn between protecting his father and exposing him for the criminal he is. The relationship between Abner, Sarty’s father, and the boy is an interesting depiction of a dysfunctional bond and its impact on the protagonist. Sarty has difficulty realizing that his father’s crimes are indeed wrong. The reason for this is because Sarty’s father is a mercenary, a soldier for hire by whoever pays the most money. Sarty wants to believe that his father is a good man but the truth is, a mercenary is the lowest form of a soldier, he or she would kill his own brother if paid the right amount of money.
This is what causes the boy to be confused because in actuality his father is really a bad person. The commonality between Emily Grierson and Abner Snopes is that they both have no regard for the law. They do whatever they please without any concern to the consequences that their actions may have. For example, when Emily went to buy the arsenic, the shop clerk asked her what it was for and she refused to answer him; and also when people came to collect the taxes from her she told them “I have no taxes in Jefferson” (30).
Abner Snopes believes that he had every right to burn down the De Spain’s barn because they tried to sue him for the carpet that he intentionally ruined. These two characters both believed that they were above the law. Faulkner captures the readers through their senses. An example of this would be the smell of the rotting corpse in Emily’s house and the use of lime to cover up the foul odor. He also made the once beautiful house turn into a beat up and worn down house in the middle of everything that once was.
You can actually see and smell Faulkner’s illustration in this story. As for Barn Burning, the usage of sensory was very prominent. Faulkner began the story with the smell of cheese and the sight canned mean which induced hunger for the characters. In both stories an image is not just created but is brought to life. Faulkner’s purpose was for the readers to not only see the characters but also to feel what they felt, and all this was executed successfully. Works Cited Kennedy, X. J. and Dana Gioia. Literature. 11th Ed. N. Y. : Longman, 2010.