You are to write a research paper on one of the stories/poems on the list below. I would also read the introductory material at the beginning of the chapter under which your story/poem falls. Your assignment is to compare and contrast what the critics say about the story/poem. For example, if we were to use Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” as the assignment, you might find that separate critics focus on different areas of the text. Some might discuss the symbolism of the quilts, while others discuss Mama’s reliability as a narrator. Another might view the story as a classic tale of sibling rivalry or of authentic heritage.
The research paper itself will be a minimum of 5 FULL pages of text (anything less automatically fails) and a Works Cited page using the MLA format we will be discussing in class. Don’t forget you must create a works cited entry for the story you choose. All essays must also use literary present tense. You must have a minimum of 5 sources (scholarly articles) for the essay, which means you will have at least 6 works cited entries All essays must also be turned in to turnitin.com. NO SOURCES OUTSIDE OF THE DATABASES MAY BE USED UNLESS APPROVED BY ME FIRST.
Alice Walker, “Everyday Use” pp. 166-174 ( I am doing this one)
Eudora Welty, “A Worn Path” pp. 223-231
Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown” pp. 309-321
Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” pp. 420-434
John Keats, “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” “pp. 988
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” pp.767-769
Emily Dickinson, “Because I could not stop for death” pp.764-765
William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming” pp. 1024
Langston Hughes “The Weary Blues” pp.942-943
If you have time you might also want to start browsing the following database for articles on your story. You can, of course, use any of the online databases.
The Literary Reference Center
The Literature Resource Center
NetLibrary ebooksLiterature online. ( have to uses these data bases)
Reseach paper example
Of Love Comes Death
The seclusive life of the Southern Belle, Miss Emily Grierson, is a mysterious one. In
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” the protagonist, Emily, lives with her father in the town of Jefferson and the closeness of their relationship is questionable. After her father’s passing Emily finds love in a Yankee and this relationship ends in a shocking and abrupt way, leaving readers in confusion. Faulkner’s use of an ambiguous narrator and a change in narrative provides a mysterious and symbolic meaning to why Emily is the way she is and to the rose that is associated with her.
The two prominent identities of the narrator are up for debate: male or female. Faulkner’s use of an ambiguous narrator allows for various interpretations of the narrator’s true gender. In an article by Michael L. Burduck, who bases the first part of his article on an article by Hal Blythe, states that Blythe discusses the gender of the narrator in “A Rose for Emily”:
Focusing on Miss Emily’s bizarre affair and how it affronts the chivalric notions of the Old South, the narrator, according to Blythe, attempts to assuage the grief produced by Miss Emily’s rejection of him by relating her story; telling her tale allows him to exact a measure of revenge. Faulkner’s speaker, without doubt, serves as a pivotal player in this tale of grotesque love. Although Blythe grasps the significance of the narrator’s place in the story, he bases his argument on a
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point that the story itself never makes completely clear. Blythe assumes that
Faulkner’s narrator is male. (Burduck)
The “we” that is continuously mentioned throughout the short story (the narrator) is thought to be the voice for the town of Jefferson and is extremely solicitous about Emily’s life. Burduck makes a valid point that the narrator is female based on the lady’s (the phrase “the ladies” represents the typical, proper southern woman) reaction to Emily’s relationship with Homer Barron and when the ladies call upon the men of the town to intervene the men are not bothered in the slightest by Emily’s personal affairs. The narrator seems to take high offense to Emily’s relationship and finds it unprincipled. Burduck states that the southern belles “resent Emily’s seeing a Yankee man. In the eyes of these flowers of Southern femininity, Emily Grierson becomes a stain on the white gown of Southern womanhood”. As a way to show the stereotypical nature of women, in the sense of gossip, the narrator makes sure that the life of Emily Grierson will be the talk of the town indefinitely.
Helen Nebeker and Hans H. Skei approach the ambiguity of the narrator by first identifying the point of view of Faulkner. Nebeker states, “If one acknowledges the mastery of Faulkner in merging person, time, place, and events, the importance of his chosen point of view should not be so lightly dismissed.” If one were to dismiss Faulkner’s chosen point of view, one can be deceived by the details describing a killing far more horrific than a basket case who ends the life of her lover. A point made by Skei is how Faulkner shows the oppression and deprivation of Emily’s situation through the narrator. The narrator goes through subtle changes from section to section and is clearly an individual and male, but he identifies with a group or with the townspeople in general. In addition, Skei claims that since the narrator plays a dominant role as a character it is important to distinguish between narrative perspective and narrative voice and not
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to confuse these with point of view. Although Nebeker never explicitly states her evidence for the gender of the narrator the point of view of the narrator continues to be ambiguous due to the various pronoun references which “the reader of ‘A Rose for Emily’ realizes immediately the vagueness of the pronoun focus within the story” (Nebeker).
As previously stated, various pronoun references are used to help develop the narrative voice in “A Rose for Emily”. The change in narrative may cause slight confusion; however, Nebeker notes and describes, section by section, the shift of person from our to they to we: “the general townspeople of the inclusive our; the they of a contemporary society functioning when Miss Emily was in her late 50s or early 60s and to whom she refused to pay taxes; the they of an . . . older pre-Civil War generation; and the we who thought of Emily and her father as a tableau”. In section two of the short story, however, the we is referred to as the townspeople as a whole and gossip that disperses amongst this specific group. To further the depth of Faulkner’s use of change in narrative, Hans H. Skei’s article discusses Faulkner’s townspeople as an official group and how the first person plural narrative, “we,” is put in use. According to Dilworth, the narrator implies his own and his society’s cultural values. These values of the Southern society (the narrator) influence attitudes and behavior toward Emily and, to the society’s surprise, the killing of Homer. Skei claims that the text is filled with detailed descriptions of the new times and the destruction of the prehistoric views of the South, as if to put off the gruesome facts for as long as possible.
Critics have discussed the mystery and symbolism behind Emily’s bizarre and unconventional relationships with her father and Homer Barron and briefly touch base with the inspiration behind her character. Emily, according to Dilworth, is based on Queen Victoria. Victoria’s husband, Albert, was unfavorable in the beginning because he was German foreigner.
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Once Albert died Victoria entered a depressed state and was thought to be insane. The similarity between Emily’s life and Queen Victoria’s is not to go unnoticed. Dilworth states that Emily “idolized and idealized her father and Homer Barron, even to the point of endowing them with fictitious life beyond death”. Emily’s devoted relationship is questionable in terms of the depth of her love. According to Dilworth, Emily’s father, who is never given a specific name other than the assumed Mr. Grierson, keeps a tight leash on Emily leaving her with a life of sexual solitude.
A Freudian approach is taken by Jack Scherting and he claims that “The Oedipal desires expressed in Emily’s affair with Homer were never recognized by the people of Jefferson, and Emily herself was aware of them only as subconscious longings” (qtd. in Getty). Scherting states that the townspeople of Jefferson believe that Emily had to keep her father’s body because any man who showed interest in Emily was denied access to her like she was a valuable antique that was not to be touched and Emily would hang on to the man who she spent her entire life with. Burduck claims that Miss Emily’s seclusive life, due to her father’s over protection, could have a direct correlation to her inability to let her father and Homer go. Similarly, the townspeople recognize Emily’s need to cling to Homer just as she had her father but rather this time the people of Jefferson, those that knew of Homer’s state, allow her to keep his body. Emily’s intent to keep her father’s corpse and the fact that she sleeps next to her dead lover, until she dies, provides the reader insight to her loss of sanity.
The “rose” that is closely associated with Miss Emily has possible religious and mythological ties. Hendrickson states that the Greek God of Silence (Harpocrates) caught Venus “making love with a handsome youth and Cupid bribed the Greek God of Silence to keep quiet about the affair by giving him the first rose ever created” and thus the rose has become a symbol
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of silence (qtd. in Getty). The rose, during the fifth century, was sculpted on the ceilings of places where European diplomats had the ability to speak freely with the trust that the discussions that had taken place were safe sub rosa, literally “under the rose”. In the religious aspect, Hendrickson states that a carving of a rose was commonly seen above the Roman Catholic confessional and quickly became an emblem of secrecy, strict confidentiality and “absolute privacy” (qtd. in Getty).
In this short story, however, Homer can be a representation of the rose in that he is like a dried rose preserved in the pages of a book as a relic, just as Emily did to his body in the rose- painted room; the room in which no one was allowed to enter until the death of the final occupant. Additionally, the narrator associates the rose to Emily as either a token for keeping the secret of the murder of Homer or the narrator offers little more than bought flowers for Miss Emily in empathy. The short story remains sub rosa as a way to cover up the flat colored grey strand of hair found on the pillow until after the death of Emily. Getty claims that Faulkner protects Emily’s privacy by preventing the reader and even the narrator from becoming a “voyeur” and disrupting the ending entirely.
Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” outlines the mysterious and lonesome life of Emily Grierson. This short story allows for various interpretations due to the ambiguity of the outdated Southern society and Jefferson townspeople as a whole and from whom the story is being told. Emily does not follow the typical Southern woman role that the society has created for her and once her relationship with the Yankee, Homer Barron, becomes publicized she is looked upon as “a stain” to the Southern title and thus making her an outcast (Burduck). The change in narrative voice throughout the story can be a conundrum; however, the story moves fluidly by the distinct separation from our to they to we. Critics have many views on the symbolism of the rose that is
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so closely associated with Emily and the role that the rose plays in the story. The reader does not fully grasp the mental instability of Emily until the abrupt and shocking ending breaking the wall of secrecy via sub rosa.
Burduck, Michael L. “Another View Of Faulkner’s Narrator In ‘A Rose For Emily’.” The
University of Mississippi Studies in English, vol. 8, 1990, pp. 209-211. Literary Resource
Center. Accessed 14 Nov. 2016.
Dilworth, Thomas. “A Romance To Kill For: Homicidal Complicity In Faulkner’s ‘A Rose For
Emily’.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 36, no. 3, 1999, pp. 251. Literary Resource Center.
Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose For Emily”. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound & Sens, edited
by Greg Johnson and Thomas Arp, 12th ed., Cengage Learning, 2015, pp. 534-541. Getty, Laura J. “Faulkner’s ‘A Rose For Emily’.” Explicator, vol. 63, no. 4, 2005, pp. 230-234.
Literary Resource Center. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.
Nebeker, Helen E. “Emily’s Rose Of Love: Thematic Implications Of Point Of View In
Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily’.” Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, vol. 24, no. 1, 1970, pp. 3-13. Literary Resource Center. Accessed 16 Nov. 2016.
Skei, Hans H. “A Rose for Emily” Reading Faulkner’s Best Short Stories, U of South Carolina, 1999, pp. 151-164. Literary Resource Center. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.