Miss Emily And The Invisible Man

1318 words - 5 pages

William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison com from two different back grounds. William Faulkner was a white man born into a family who was affluent and powerful. (DiYanni 78) Ralph Ellison was a black man born in the south. (DiYanni 341) Through their stories they share their views of the south at that time. Faulkner and Ellison had contrasting views on the south about how people with differences were treated and whether or not the south’s changes were positive, however they both view the changing south as inevitable.
In Faulkner’s south people who are different are not punished but they are protected from the public embarrassment of their honor. In “A Rose for Emily” Colonel Sartoris forgives Miss Emily of the taxes she owes the city of Jefferson. Instead of telling Miss Emily the truth, because of her position in the town she out of honor would have had to turn the offer down, the narrator says “Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying.” (Faulkner 79) Another example of the townspeople protecting Miss Emily’s honor is when they smell a repulsive odor coming from Miss Emily’s house. The mayor Judge Stevens is hesitant to confront Miss Emily the issue at hand. When one of the Aldermen, from the young generation, suggests addressing her of the situation Judge Stevens says "Dammit, sir, will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?" (Faulkner 80) The townspeople ultimately decide to sneak onto Miss Emily’s property so the can remove the stench from her house without insulting her honor. The most extreme case of the citizens of Jefferson protecting Miss Emily’s high standing is how they react to finding out that Miss Emily has murdered and been sleeping with the corpse of Homer Barron. None of the townspeople boycott her funeral. Instead they all come to pay their respects and praise a murder.
In Faulkner’s “A Rose for Miss Emily” there is a negative view of the changing south. Miss Emily, the protagonist in this story, is painted in a sympathetic light. She is a symbol for the old south and she does not accept the changing south or change at all. When Emily’s father dies she doesn’t accept the fact for three days. She tells the townspeople “that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body.” (Faulkner 81) She refuses to acknowledge Homer Barron’s death even though she is the one who poisons him. Miss Emily had been lying with his body from his death up in till her death. The narrator says the townspeople “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-gray hair.” (Faulkner 84)...

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