Analysis of a good man is hard to find and A Rose for Emily

By Christopher Martin,2014-06-24 09:04
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外国语学院2012年春学期 期末考查 英美文学选讲 英语09本;1~;7 2012.6 出题人?卢亚林

    Analysis of

    “A Rose for Emily” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

    (June 2012)

    Name ___ Class_____ Number _ Mark ________

    Southern Gothic style is a style of writing that engages grotesque and ironic events to study the values of the American south and its people. After my reading of “A Rose for Emily” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, I hold the view that William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor are two of the best known writers to use this style of writing.

    “A Rose for Emily” is a story in which a woman, Emily, is discovered by the

    townspeople to have a rotting corpse of her lover, Homer Barron, in her bedroom, and O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, portrays a southern family’s death at the hands of a heartless murderer, "The Misfit". Both of these short stories are great examples of southern gothic writing because the authors used grotesque and ironic characters and events to show the readers the unpleasant aspects of Southern culture and its literature. Furthermore, both authors use different symbols and themes throughout their short stories. The most significant and revealing aspect of southern gothic writing is the use of macabre events. Such occurrences are easily recognized in both stories.

    In Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," which is told thought the views of a southern town and its people, portrays a woman named Emily, who is the last remaining member of her family. The townspeople watch as Emily begins to get stranger and stranger as the years pass. Eventually, when Emily dies alone in her home, the townspeople enter Emily's home and are shocked to discover the horrible smell and decomposed body of her lover. Before Emily's death, the townspeople thought that Emily's lover had left her, but really he was in the upstairs bedroom slowly decomposing after Emily had poisoned him. Faulkner ends the story by showing the reader how gruesome Emily's actions were when he writes, “Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gay hair".

    Likewise, Flannery O'Conner's story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," is equally grisly. In the story, a family is on a trip to Florida when their car loses control and ends up in the ditch. Helpless and stranded, the family notices a car turn towards them. When the car stops and three men get out, the leader is a shirtless, bespectacled man. All three men have guns. The man in glasses instructs his cohorts to inspect the family's car and engages Bailey in polite conversation until the grandmother identifies him as an escaped convict known as "The Misfit." The Misfit shot his own father, he says, though he says that's what he's been told --he doesn't believe it. As The Misfit instructs his accomplices to murder the family one by one, the grandmother begins

外国语学院2012年春学期 期末考查 英美文学选讲 英语09本;1~;7 2012.6 出题人?卢亚林

    pleading for her own life by flattering The Misfit. When the Misfit ignores her pleas, she becomes speechless. Panicked, she attempts to witness about Jesus. The Misfit becomes visibly angry: he is angry with Christ for having given no physical evidence for His existence, casting doubt about the legitimacy of Christianity. He does not want to waste his life serving a figure who may not exist, nor does he want to displease an almighty God who may exist; he has settled on the idea that "There's no pleasure but meanness." The grandmother suddenly exclaims "Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!", and reaches out and touches The Misfit. He recoils

    and shoots her three times. When the accomplice finishes murdering the family, the Misfit takes a moment to clean his glasses, concluding that "she [the grandmother] would have been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." He echoes O'Connor's traditional Christian view that this is properly the role of the conscience informed by the Holy Spirit. When his accomplice comments on the fun that they've had in killing, the Misfit tells him, "It's no real pleasure in life."

     To sum up, William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor were two representatives of Southern Gothic literature. The Southern Gothic tradition is a genre, or "type" of literature within the American literary canon that emphasizes the supernatural or the grotesque. Beyond the characteristic of decay, dark forests, eerie houses, lies a common thread.

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