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Comparison Essay of "rappaccini's Daughter" and "a Rose for Emily"

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In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" and William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" the use of characterization, symbolism and setting is used to expand the reader's understanding of the character's social struggles of being isolated from society which ultimately leads to their demise in both narrative stories.

Published in December of 1844, "Rappaccini's Daughter" written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is possibly the most complex and difficult of all his short stories, but also one of the greatest. The story tells of a mad scientist who, in his personal garden, grows poisonous flowers and plants. As a result, his beautiful daughter Beatrice is poisoned by the substances in the plants and flowers. In thinking he was protecting her, Dr. Rappaccini keeps his daughter confined in the garden but this betrayal only causes her harm. Beatrice justifies that taking care of the garden is helpful to her father, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead for her. Beatrice finally meets a man by the name of Giovanni with whom she falls in love with. Upon spending time with Beatrice, Giovanni becomes poisonous himself. One of his professors named Baglioni gives Giovanni an antidote to the poison he claims will turn Beatrice back to normal. Out of his love for her, Giovanni takes it but is unaware that his professor hates Rappaccini and that the antidote is actually meant to do her harm . Giovanni gives the antidote to his beloved in hopes of a cure, only to have it kill her instead (Hawthorne, 1884).

First published in a 1930 copy of Forum, "A Rose for Emily" is one of William Faulkner's most recognized short stories. It is about a woman named Emily Grierson who is mentally disturbed. She comes from a prideful Southern family and in part this heritage has contributed to her illness and ability to communicate with the ever changing outside world. This mental disturbance causes her to lose touch from reality and become withdrawn from society and eventually escalates to murder. It is not until the end of the story that the reader discovers the death of her former lover Homer Barron when some of the townspeople go to her house and enter a room only to find his corpse in a bed alongside a pillow that held one of Emily's grey hairs. It was decided by the townspeople that Emily had been sleeping with the corpse for years (Faulkner, 1930).

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter" tells the story of Dr. Rappaccini, who in his personal garden, grows poisonous flowers and plants. Dr. Rappaccini keeps his daughter Beatrice confined in the garden to protect her from outside society and to care for the plants and flowers as well. While Rappaccini never handles these plants himself, they seem to flourish under his daughter's care. What seems to be evidence of a green thumb early in the story turns out to be that she is just as dependent of the flowers as they are on her. At one point, she holds the branches in her arms and replies to the plant "Give me thy breath, my sister, for I am faint with common air." A young student named Giovanni catches a glimpse of Beatrice as well as the lovely garden outside his window. He notices her curious relationship with the plants as well as the fact that her breath or touch is deadly to flowers grown outside of the garden. After spending time with Beatrice, Giovanni notices that he, too is becoming poisonous and that if he stays, he will also become deadly to others. He callously accuses his love of infecting him with the poison, which destroys her. Giovanni's mentor warns him to avoid Beatrice and Dr. Rappaccini because she was raised as a living science experiment and that both were up to no good. Later in the story the reader learns that Baglioni hates Dr. Rappaccini. Giovanni is then deceived by Baglioni by accepting a powerful antidote that he says is meant to heal Beatrice and turn her back into a normal human being. However, upon drinking the antidote Beatrice becomes sick and dies (Hawthorne, 1844).

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner actually begins with the funeral of Emily Grierson in which the whole town attends. Until the funeral there had not actually been anyone visit her in ten years. In fact, her Black servant Tobe was one of the only people to see her. The street Miss Emily lived on was once known as one of the "most select" and her house known as one of the finest in town but now was dilapidated and seen as "an eyesore among eyeosres." In 1894 the mayor of the town remitted the property taxes on the house after the death of her father, telling her a story of how her father made a loan to the town and this was their preferred way of repaying. However, the new generation of government officials didn't approve of the agreement and set out to get the debt they felt she owed. Emily insists a former mayor of the town said she did not have to pay taxes and that they should talk to him before having her servant show them out. At this point in the story the mayor she is referring to has been dead for at least ten years. This is the first clue the reader has that there may be something mentally wrong with Emily Grierson. Thirty years before this particular incident, there was a bad smell coming from Emily's house. Not wanting to confront her, the authorities took care of it by having someone sneak into her yard late at night and pour lime around the house to make the smell go away. This is when the townspeople started sympathizing with Emily. When he was alive, Emily's father felt that no man was ever good enough to court his daughter. Upon his death she was left with no money to take care of herself or the house she lived in, therefore in more ways than one she was left with nothing. The story then tells that she refused to acknowledge her father's death until three days after his passing. They didn't think she was crazy at the time, but that she just couldn't let him go. Shortly after the death of her father she started dating a Yankee named Homer Barron who was in town doing construction work. The town disagrees of the relationship between the two decides the best way to end it is by sending for Emily's cousins and have them to take care of the matter. At one point in the story Emily is seen buying arsenic at the pharmacy. It is assumed then that she is going to try to commit suicide because Homer wouldn't marry her. Homer Barron is last seen in the story going into Emily's house after her cousins leave town. After that she is rarely seen leaving the house and her appearance soon deteriorates as she gains weight and her hair turns grey. Emily Grierson then dies in a downstairs bedroom. The story then returns to the funeral. As a group of women are let in the house

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