Literary Technique in "The Story of an Hour" and "A Rose for Emily"

Topics: Marriage, Short story, Status Quo Pages: 2 (628 words) Published: November 9, 2012
The protagonists of “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin and “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner long for a freedom withheld by the heavy hand of their surroundings. At the presentation of both these stories, it is easy to see how this could become a classic telling of the Southern condition but the skillful use of foreshadowing and symbolism creates irony in a series of seemingly ordinary events. Both women in these stories were bound by the strict expectations of their society. Louise and Emily not only feel but also live by the demands that society and their families have placed on them. When they finally realize their sovereignty, they attempt to maintain it in the most unconventional manner. In Faulkner’s "A Rose for Emily," Emily endures the push and pull of social graces and the strict expectations of a lady well into her life. After her father, and last attachment to pre-war decencies, passes, Emily confines herself to her home. She eventually begins to date a young man, Homer Baron, a day laborer and heavy drinker who is far from the accepted suitor. Emily seems to have achieved her purpose as a true Southern lady when she marries Baron. For reasons unbeknown to her ever-prying town, she then boards up her home and never leaves again. Upon her death the town realizes that Baron died, or rather had been killed, shortly after the wedding while his corpse lay in the marriage bed ever since. This absolute preservation of a thriving time was the only way Emily could maintain freedom in her mind. Emily had become so engrossed in the norms of her culture that her world became too small to live in. Caught in the societal transition of Civil War aftermath) and with the constant vigilance of Emily by the townspeople, we can see there is no option for complete fulfillment in her life. Her choice to live in a “snapshot” of her life becomes the only adequate one. Like Emily, the protagonist in "The Story of an Hour," Louise, feels inhibited in her life. When...
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