Comparative Analysis of Two Short Stories
Category : History Essays
This paper discusses two short stories entitled: "Killings" by Andre Dubus and a “A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner. It compares the two stories by focusing on two elements, the theme and the character in the story. The meaning of the stories is sought through the evaluation of these elements.
These two short stories delve on the theme of passion, crime and morality. The violence committed in both stories is deployed with the threat of love and with the longing for love as well. “Killings” portrays a father’s love to his child and the desire to avenge his death. However, the own crime he has committed led to self destruction and some sort of self murder. The character is in ironic position since he was confronted with the ardent desire to revenge and the guilt that came with it. Anger and righteousness can be sympathetically felt with the character. Similarly, ‘A Rose for Emily’ portrays love as the root cause of the crime. In this story, the father suppressed his daughter’s woman life which eventually led to her killing her lover to find eternal love. The two stories are the same in some aspect in terms of the theme which revolves on passion and crime. However, the character differs greatly on the impact of the crime committed by them. In ‘Killings’, the character felt guilt and a sort of self death. The character on ‘A rose for Emily’ on the other hand, died with no remorse for what she committed.
The story of “Killings” by Andre Dubus centers on the theme of vengeance. The lead character, Matt Fowler, plotted revenge on the young man who killed his son. The act of killing was more of a private vengeance rather than an act of protection. However, Matt Fowler’s act was even motivated by the desire to protect his wife who suffered tremendously just by seeing the unrepentant man who killed their son. Moreover, the death of his son Frank, posed an assault to his fatherhood and his ability to protect his family. While the crime was that of a sympathetic violence, there can be no important moral distinction between the original slaying of the son and Fowler’s retaliation. By the end of the story act caused a feeling of isolation to Matt Fowler. He kept the truth from his children and even his intimate relationship with his wife was adversely affected (Gelfant & Graver, 2000, pp.230).
The crime committed by Fowler cannot be justified by the apparent guilt of Strout, the young man who killed his son. However, the deed itself of avenging and ending up with the same act of killing becomes an unsettling issue in the story. The act deeply troubled him and he was confronted between the clear guilt of Strout and the knowledge that despite the guilt, he is still a human being. Additionally, Fowler had to deal with the human connection Strout has and the unawareness of his death. At the end of the story, Matt is confronted with distinguishing innocence and guilt. He thought of all the dead instead of the ones living (Gelfant & Graver, 2000, pp. 231).
Ultimately, the story was unsettling because of the degree of desire to revenge and the isolation brought about by the deed. Thus, the story generates sympathy with his desire to kill his son’s murderer and the horrified feeling associated with that desire. With this, the readers can feel and distinguish what is compelling and what is wrong about the act. Even the character rejected the comfort that the violence he has committed was justified by the necessity to revenge and protects his family (Gelfant & Graver, 2000, pp. 231). The story is ironic in nature since the character who committed a crime eventually finds himself in a situation of self murder. Indeed, the story extends form the physical killings that lead to moral deaths (Lee, 2003). Thus, the story evinces the dark side of the character with his desire to kill and at the same time the sympathy with the horrifying feeling associated with that desire.
“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner centered on the theme of women and the society. The story was based on a true story. It evinces a feeling of shock from the discovery of the lead character, Emily, keeping the cadaver of Hommer Barron for forty years. The act of killing her faithless lover sets the dark and sympathetic side of the character. She was regarded an eccentric person but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t in control (Staton, 1987, pp.358).
In the story, Emily refused to participate in the symbol-making as a precious lady. Despite the fact the she had thirty years to bury Hommer Barron, she chose to keep him and sleep with him throughout those years. Thus, this signifies the possibility of what she could have done behind the back of the community (Curry, 1994). Emily is borne into a family of great wealth. The qualities of her father thwarted her woman’s life with him driving away every man that comes her way. With this, she began to regard and abhor people of the ordinary class. Following her father’s death, she emerged as a young girl which illustrates the change on her being an independent woman. Her interest in Hommer Barron though incited the pity from the townspeople. But despite what people would say about her relationship, she continued with her head up high but only to end up killing her lover (Faulker, n.d). Ultimately, Emily’s depiction was that of a strong woman trying to fight for her right. Her father had suppressed her woman’s life when he was still living. And the townspeople would not leave her out of the gossips. However, she found eternal love by killing Hommer so she could be with him whether he is alive or not. With his death comes a long sleep that outlasts love and conquers every grimace of love (Wikipedia, 2007).
These short stories depict the power of love as a motivating tool to commit crime. With the stories revolving on the theme of crime, passion and morality, the readers are confronted with either sympathizing with the characters and the moral justification associated with their acts. Indeed, the love of a father for his son was the motivation of the character in ‘Killings’ to execute his son’s killer. The character of Emily on the other hand was motivated by her pursuit for eternal love. Both characters are confronted with the que4stion of morality. However, Emily’s character was stronger and no remorse was felt until the end of the story. She depicted a woman fighting for her right against the opinion of other people. The character of Matt Fowler was ironic in nature. He depicts anger by avenging his son’s death but ended up with self death as a result of his own crime.