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Nathaniel Hawthorne's Case

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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 This mental disturbance causes her to lose touch from reality and become withdrawn from society and eventually escalates to murder.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).

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