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Themes and Styles in Literature - Book Report/Review Example

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Themes and Styles in Literature

Emily and her life were encompassed in these words "big, squarish frame house that had once been white.. only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn, coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps.." Faulkner linked Emily to the house thus: " Her skeleton was small and spareshe looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue."
This visual and olfactory imagery provided a foreshadowing, signifying adherence to the past, to traditional beliefs that she was above the rest, and psychologically suggested that the "we" in that town resented and abandoned her to isolation and alienation. Symbolic imagery created ambiguity throughout; " a fallen monument", or "hereditary obligation" or "Poor Emily", when she appeared more like the rest, poor and alone, but finally, "dear inescapable, impervious, tranquil and perverse". Set apart "in a house filled with dust and shadows." The style followed a stream of consciousness, where one thought tipped the narrator back and forth in time, the chronology moving through years, but beginning and ending with Emily's death.
The climax revealed the total alienation of the individual that resulted in horror. Emily gave herself the only roses, ""faded rose color upon the rose-shaded lights", the irony explicit in this. The "single strand of iron-gray hair" set her apart, as did the horrific scene in the bedroom. Shirley Jackson pursued similar themes, with a different style, but led the reader to recognize similar horrific conclusions.
The Lottery (Jackson, 1948): With a contrasting narrative style, using the objective, detached observer, Jackson built up to a horrific climax in a society that refused to abandon the past and the destructive traditions that again, isolated and destroyed the individual. A further contrast exists in the chronological report of one day's events, but the involvement of all society in perpetrating the action suggested a similar complex idea. A similarity in style is the foreshadowing "Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones.." and in the use of symbolism, like Faulkner. The ancient, battered black wooden box metaphorically represented the past, and destructive traditions. Reluctance to let go was expressed by Old Man Warner: "Nothing but trouble in that", (Jackson), just as Emily held on. Colors, class status and characterization were present in both pieces, and the dialogue vividly expressed attitudes to the 'victim'. Jackson's title is ironic; her opening suggested a positive experience, "The morning...was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day". In contrast to Jackson's build up, the mounting tension, ambivalent feelings that all was not as it appeared, Faulkner immediately alerted us to Emily's status as an "outsider", an alienated anachronism. The question arises as to whether Emily was an example of the village's norms, or did the ...Show more


Introduction: Analysis of themes and styles in these two selected pieces provided much evidence that despite differences in setting, subject, voice and characterization, both appear to have many complex ideas and more similarities than differences. This emerged in the common themes of the individual in society, inherent dangers in traditional practices, past and present, death and the horrific outcome for the isolated individual when these factors combine to impact on them…
Author : brionnazieme
Themes and Styles in Literature essay example
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