Comparing Literary Works

Topics: Fiction, Literature, The Road Pages: 5 (1655 words) Published: November 15, 2010
Comparing 1

Comparing Literary Works
Vivian Swinton
ENG 125
Instructor – Alex Vuilleumier
November 1, 2010

Comparing 2

Comparing Literary Works

My study of literature has been quit amazing. I never knew how extensive the elements of literature were, in helping to analyze and understand the concept of different genres. In studying literature, it has helped me to understand and express myself in what is, understanding other people’s points of view.

As a common ground for my comparisons, I would like to compare three literary works, using the element of setting, in how the physical and social context, including the time, place and social environment frames the characters, creating an atmosphere conducive to the tone of the story. The setting plays an important role in the success of story, it sets the readers mood. A good writer’s description of a setting puts you right into the story. Sometimes the “intense description” of setting in a story can bring suspense with an eerie feeling, to a dark and dreary one. Often the author will use objects in the setting to symbolize different things in the story, helping to outline the general theme of the story, also to relate to the hardships or situations of the characters. The setting is the foundation and power of the story. If the setting is weak the story will be also. (Morgan.T. 2010). In analyzing the setting, the reader can get a lot of information about its themes and literary intent.

In “A Rose for Emily” the setting is mostly one of deterioration and death, beginning with her house, which the town considered an “eye sore among eyesores”, the picture of decay. Emily’s house “smelled of dust and disuse – a close, dank smell” (DiYanni, 2008, p. 79).

Comparing 3

The physical setting was parallel to the social change that was taking place at the time, and could be used to symbolize the breakdown of the old structures that once held up their society. This setting represents Emily holding on to what is left of southern aristocracy. The setting in this short story helps the reader to understand the particular pressures with which Emily was trying to cope with. Faulkner’s explicit details about the setting, gives the reader background as to the values and beliefs of the characters, understanding their motives and reactions (Baym. N, 2003, p. 2160-2166)

While change is all around Emily, she refuses to change, as if she can stop the world from changing. Her house of decay is a place where regrets and memories have remained undisturbed. She does not want to lose the illusion that she controls time, and the house, inwardly and outwardly. The setting also represented the endurance of tradition, where change in the town and in Emily’s life was not welcomed, so in turn death ultimately triumphed. Even though Emily isolated herself from the town clinging to her past, the town as well clung to the old gossip and news of the past. Jefferson is a critical setting in much of Faulkner’s fiction, depicted as a fallen legacy. The setting gives us an understanding of the mentality and actions of the town. They seemed so fascinated with all the “old” gossip that they failed to see her as a person with mental and emotional issues. The townspeople were so caught up in the gossip, seem to be as pathological as Emily; they failed to see she was in a world of delusion and fantasy. Emily became the town’s only link to the past (Baym. N, 2003, p. 2160-2166).

Comparing 4

In this story, the setting must be understood, along with the characters and Emily to understand the story. The author uses symbolism in its extreme in creating and bringing about unity to all the parts of the story to show one central principle setting which makes up a larger picture, which in this story is to show how some people are unable to accept change.

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