In this paper we will make plot and structure analysis of a short story by Flannery O’Connor “Good Country People”, point of view analysis of “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and the theme analysis of Franz Kafka “The Metamorphosis”.
No matter, how wise you consider yourself to be, there always are people, who can trick you. It may have no serious outcomes, or may result in death – such as it is shown in a short story by Flannery O’Connor.
The plot of this story, as any other, has an exposition, complications, climax and denouement. In exposition we can see a number of main characters of the story: Mrs. Freeman, the servant maid, Mrs. Hopewell, her mistress, and Mrs. Hopewell’s daughter Joy. The other two characters – two daughters of Mrs. Freeman, are not introduced in the story in person. We only know that they are there somewhere by accounts of their mother.
Mrs. Freeman, according to Mrs. Hopewell, was a “good country people” and “a lady” whom Mrs. Hopewell “was never ashamed to take her anywhere or introduce her to anybody they might meet” (O’Connor, 1955). Her two daughters Glynese and Carramae, were, by words of Mrs. Hopewell “were two of the finest girls she knew” (O’Connor, 1955).
Hopewell’s daughter, Joy (later she changed her name to Hulga), was thirty-two years old and had a Ph.D. degree in philosophy. She was “a large blonds [sic] girl” (O’Connor, 1955), had only one leg (the other was shot off in the tragic hunting accident) and considered herself to be very smart. But her mother regarded her just as a mere child.
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Mrs. Hopewell can be easily described in terms of her three favorite sayings – Nothing is perfect”, “That is life!” and “well, other people have their opinions too” (O’Connor, 1955). Mrs. Hopewell was the kind of a woman who could keep up with almost any person without conflicts. As her surname indicates, she was hoping for everything to be well.
Complications begin, when in the house of Mrs. Hopewell appears a young man, a Bible seller. He said his name was Manley Pointer and he was a true Christian. To Mrs. Hopewell he appeared to be so sincere, that, though at first she was not pleased to see him, later she had to admit that ‘he bored me to death but he was so sincere and genuine I couldn’t be rude to him. He was just good country people, you know,” she said, “- just the salt of the earth” (O’Connor, 1955). The climax of the story is the talk between Pointer and Hulga after which they decide to meet the next day to go on a picnic. She imagine seducing the young naÃ¯ve boy, but in the denouement of that story it was smart Hulga, who was fooled and left to die in the wilderness with her artificial leg stolen by that “boy”.
In the short story “A Rose for Emily” William Faulkner shows the action from various points of view. Though the thoughts of the main character of the story, Miss Emily Grierson, are hidden from our knowledge, we can observe the scene from the points of view of government officers and her neighbors and townsmen. That approach makes us think, reconstructing the real picture of motives beneath miss Emily’s actions.
The government officials came to her house to gather her debt for the city but were turned away by Miss Emily. After that, they left the idea they can get anything from her at all. After the death of her father, she became a pauper instantly. After that, she rarely left her house for long. The townsmen and her neighbors began to pity her, because she was so poor, lonely and forlorn. As it is said in the story:
The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence and aid, as is our custom Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body. Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly. (Faulkner, 1930)
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That only shows Miss Emily was not in a stable mental condition even then. It added even more sentiments to the feeling of her neighbors. Her romance with Homer Barron, “a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face” (Faulkner, 1930), was regarded by the onlookers as positive and they thought that Emily and Homer would soon marry. After they came to know that Homer liked men, neighbors still had a conviction that Emily could persuade him to marry.
And so it seemed, because:
We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler’s and ordered a man’s toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece. Two days later we learned that she had bought a complete outfit of men’s clothing, including a nightshirt, and we said, “They are married. (Faulkner, 1930)
And nobody could guess why she had bought arsenic. In the end of the story, when Miss Emily dies in old age, we come to know the real fate of Homer Barron. He was poisoned with arsenic by Miss Emily. It is not clear, why she did it, but judging from her mental state we can guess that it may have happened because Emily was insane. Poor Emily!
In Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” there are two main themes. Both of them are connected to the relationship between Gregor Samsa and his family. The first is separation of an individual from the rest of the society. Indeed, a young man Gregor sacrifices his personal happiness to the cause of paying off his parents’ debt to his boss. He works hard on a dog’s job of a travelling salesman, going from one hotel to another, from loneliness to loneliness. Even when at home, he closes all doors leading to his room (he says it was a “cautious habit, acquired from his travelling” (Kafka, 1915)), we can see him putting as much space between himself and his family, which is ever in need of money. Money, which nobody in that family, except Gregor, earns. For we see no other member of the Samsa family at work in the story. His feeling of alienation is so deep that it turns him into a giant bug. But, as it can be easily predicted, it turns his family aside of him even more than before. They don’t need Gregor, they need his money to live as they are used to. When he became ill, the only concern of the family was to get rid of him:
How can that be Gregor? If it were Gregor he would have seen long ago that it’s not possible for human beings to live with an animal like that and he would have gone of his own free will. We wouldn’t have a brother any more, then, but we could carry on with our lives and remember him with respect. (Kafka, 1915)
The second theme is sense of guilt. When Gregor is turned into a bug, his only thoughts are of his family: “Well, there’s still some hope; once I’ve got the money together to pay off my parents’ debt to him – another five or six years I suppose – that’s definitely what I’ll do. That’s when I’ll make the big change” (Kafka,1915). There is no self-pity in him, only concern for his family’s wellbeing. Guilt is killing him. He dies alone and deserted, and that for the sake of his family: “Then, without his willing it, his head sank down completely, and his last breath flowed weakly from his nostrils” (Kafka, 1915). So ends the tragic story of a worthy young man named Gregor Samsa.
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