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William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily and Barn Burning Essay

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Symbolism in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily and Barn Burning
If we compare William Faulkner's two short stories, 'A Rose for Emily' and 'Barn Burning', he structures the plots of these two stories differently. However, both of the stories note the effect of a father¡¦s teaching, and in both the protagonists Miss Emily and Sarty make their own decisions about their lives. The stories present major idea through symbolism that includes strong metaphorical meaning. Both stories affect my thinking of life.
Both ¡§A Rose for Emily¡¨ and ¡§Barn Burning¡¨ address the influence of a father, and the protagonists of both stories make their own decisions. Miss Emily lives with her father who prevents her from dating with any young man until she is thirty. Her father¡¦s deed enhances her thirst for love and security. After her father died, she finally has the freedom of love. When she meets Homer Barron and thinks that she has found her true love. But opposite of what she wants, Homer is a homosexual: ¡§¡Khe liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks¡¦ Club --- that he was not a marrying man¡¨ (¡§A Rose for Emily¡¨, 126). To keep him with her forever, Miss Emily chooses to murder Homer. ¡§Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and learning forward, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair¡¨ (¡§A Rose for Emily¡¨, 130), Faulkner implies that Miss Emily actually sleeps with the corpse. She must love Homer deeply, to endure the rotten smell and appearance of the dead body. She even enjoys being with it. ¡§The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace¡¨ (¡§A Rose for Emily¡¨, 130). Although she picks the most ridiculous way to express love, her courage to choose her own way of life compels admiration.
In ¡§Barn Burning¡¨, Sarty¡¦s father enjoys setting fires to burn down others¡¦ properties. Sarty faces the problem between loyalty and honesty. On one hand, he wants to be loyal to his father; on the other hand, he does not endorse his father¡¦s behavior. His father teaches him: ¡§You¡¦re getting to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain¡¦t going to have any blood to stick to you¡¨ (¡§Barn Burning¡¨, 8). His father wa...


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... sets fire to burn down the barn that belongs to the house, he thoroughly despairs of his father. He not only destroys the barn, but also shatters Sarty¡¦s hope. Sarty decides to leave his family and find his own way of life.
The metaphorical meanings of ¡§A Rose for Emily¡¨ and ¡§Barn Burning¡¨ teaches me to view life in a different way. I do not agree with Miss Emily¡¦s deed, but admire her inflexible love. She reminds me to be careful when choose a beloved. It is important to find someone who suits me. The other protagonist, Sarty shows strong self-awareness. He is young, but he is able to determine right and wrong. He knows that if he continuing stay with his father, he will not be able to live his own life, or do right things. It is pretty courageous that he decide to leave his family. When I make a decision, I should have the same courage. Both stories¡¦ plots themselves are odd, but the meanings stimulate deep thought.
Works Cited
Faulkner, William. ¡§Barn Burning.¡¨ Collected Stories of William Faulkner. New York:
     Random House, 1939. 3-25.
Faulkner, William. ¡§A Rose for Emily.¡¨ Collected Stories of William Faulkner. New
     York: Random House, 1939. 119-30.


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