A Comparison of Two Characters in a Rose for Emily and Barn Burning

1453 words 6 pages
A Comparison of Two Characters in A Rose for Emily and Barn Burning

In "A Rose for Emily" and "Barn Burning," William Faulkner creates two characters worthy of comparison. Emily Grierson, a recluse from Jefferson, Mississippi, is an important figure in the town, despite spending most of her life in seclusion. On the contrary, Abner Snopes is a loud, fiery-tempered man that most people tend to avoid. If these characters are judged by reputation and outward appearance only, the conclusion would be that Emily Grierson and Abner Snopes are complete opposites. However, despite the external differences, these two characters have surprisingly similar personalities.

First of all, Emily Grierson and Abner Snopes have very different
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His appearance is stiff, mechanical and flat. He is a misanthrope, acting rudely and hatefully towards everyone. He is even harsh around his own family. He does not show affection for his wife or children at any time during his life. The people who witness such events want nothing to do with such a cold and heartless man. Not only do the other people avoid Abner; he avoids them. He is not interested in public affairs and makes no effort to be the least bit accepted by anyone. For example, when he is in court facing charges of burning down a neighbor's barn, he "spoke for the first time, his voice harsh, level, without emphasis. . . . He said something unprintable and vile, addressed to no one" (3). His harsh and intimidating personality creates a gap between him and society, leaving him outside the social circle just as Miss Emily is throughout her life.

Lastly, Emily Grierson and Abner Snopes are very independent. They do not let anyone else have control over their lives. Emily Grierson's hatred of control stems from when her father chose every move she could make. After her father's death, she desperately wants to have control of her life. For example, she goes to the drugstore to buy arsenic. The pharmacist tells her she must state what she intends to use it for. Miss Emily "just stared at him, her head tilted back in order for him to look her eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic" (54). Her