13 September 2014
Compare and Contrast Essay In the stories, “The Lie,” by Kurt Vonnegut and “Barn Burning,” by William Faulkner, the main characters mature from childhood into adulthood. This maturity either develops from support of one’s family and upbringing or it grows internally from one’s conscience. We see from both stories that the main characters use this maturity to courageously speak up.
In the story, “The Lie,” Eli matures into adulthood. Due to his parents’ lack of understanding of his individuality in the beginning of the story, Eli has to deny his own feelings. When Eli receives the letter that he was rejected from the esteemed high school, Whitehill, he secretly tears it up since he is nervous of his parents’ disappointment. Eli’s mother, Sylvia, helps him transition into maturity as she begins to recognize her son’s individuality.
At the beginning of the story, Sylvia thinks of her son as just another Ramenzal that will be attending Whitehill and even gives him “number thirty one” (Vonnegut, 2) in the honored list of the Ramenzals who have attended the institution. Sylvia fails to realize that Eli has unique qualities that are different from the rest of the Remenzels until the end of the story. When the Remenzels discover from the headmaster that Eli has not been accepted to the school and realize that Eli has ran away because of the tough situation he got himself into, Sylvia finally recognizes that Whitehill is not the best place for him. This allows Eli to open up and express his feelings comfortably. We see this when Eli expresses his feelings of anger at his father for trying to get him into Whitehill, for he realizes he will not succeed there. He says, “You shouldn’t have done that” (Vonnegut, 12). At the point that he is recognized as an individual, he is ultimately able to mature through his new ability to express himself without being intimidated.
Sarty from the story “Barn Burning,” also
Cited: Faulkner, William. Barn Burning. Logan, IA: Perfection Form, 1979. Print. Kurt Vonnegut. The Lie. Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Pub., 1992. Print