Character Comparison - "Hills Like White Elephants"/"A Rose for Emily"

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Stefanie A. Thomas
Professor Judith Angona
English 152
9 October 2012
Character Comparison – Two Repressed Women
Both “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” center around two women who are repressed by their lives’ circumstances. However, outside of their feelings, their situations could not be more different. Miss Emily Grierson is trapped in a life of solitude, despondency, and desperation. The girl, or “Jig”, is equally as desperate, but her repression is not born of loneliness or restraint—it is the child of her freedom. Repression comes in several forms, but it will suffocate and consume you.

In “A Rose for Emily”, Miss Emily Grierson lives a life of quiet turmoil. Her life has revolved around an inexplicable loneliness mostly characterized by the harsh abandonment of death. The most vital imagery utilized by Faulkner demonstrates Miss Emily’s mental state. She, being self-imprisoned within the confines of her home, is the human embodiment of her house; Faulkner describes it as “…stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores.” (Faulkner 308). Miss Emily is also decaying, but it is subtle and internal—the awful smell that begins to permeate from her dwelling is a reflection of the withering woman within rotting.

Perhaps most tragically, Miss Emily’s isolation is far from self-inflicted. Her blind devotion to the ones she loves—her father, her lover, her home—only serves to further condemn her actions. Her neighbors’ disregard toward her inability to let go of her father after his death, despite the delicacy of her state, caused for her madness to fester. “She told them her father was not dead. She did that for three days…We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that.” (Faulkner 311). Their negligence of all the warning signs—even after her lover’s vanishing, the deterioration of her home, and Miss Emily’s...
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