“a Rose for Emily, ” “Young Goodman Brown” and “Good Country People, ”
Isolation: Loneliness from Society The time moves on for all people. If we cannot come to terms with that, bad things can happen. A short story, “A Rose for Emil,” by William Faulkner, was first published on April 30, 1930. William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. He is one of the greatest writers in America and obtained Nobel Prize laureate. As he grew up in New Albany, Mississippi, the Southern society influenced to him.
Through his works such a Sartoris (book, 1931), The Sound and The Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (poem, 1930), The Sanctuary (1931), and A Famle (1954), he depicted chronologically the decaying Southern society. In other words, he mainly pointed out the vice of the southern high society and the pursuit to create the universal humanity. (Meyer 83) Nathaniel Hawthorne, an America author of “Young Goodman Brown,” born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, grew up in a very strict Puritan family, which is where his inspiration came from.
In addition, in most of Hawthorne’s short stories, he developed the stories in similar settings in time and characters. The author described that time setting is the seventeenth century in New England, especially, Salem, his hometown. Even though he criticized the Puritanism, he was fully a Puritan. “Good Country People” is a short story written by Flannery O’Connor. Born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, Mary Flannery O’Connor was a female southern writer who wrote two novels and thirty-two short stories that are mainly in Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional setting and grotesque characters (Ditsky 3).
Flannery O`Connor`s short stories mainly centers around the author`s characteristics as a Southern writer and her treatment of religious themes based on her Catholicism set in the Protestant South. These authors, William Faulkner, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Flannery O’Conner, had common critical perspectives in religion and region, and they developed the stories in similar tones. In the stories: “A Rose for Emily,” “Young Goodman Brown” and “Good Country People,” all of the main characters experience isolation from the society. To begin, William Faulkner’s “A rose for Emily” shows the reader about lonely woman.
Emily, the protagonist, has fallen down the social ladder and cannot recognize that time is moving forward, meaning that everything is changing. In her funeral, the beginning of the story from “No one save an old manservant – a combined gardener and cook-” had seen in at least ten years (Faulkner 84). Nobody has been to her house in ten years, except for her servant. This sets the framework for Emily’s isolation in life by beginning with her funeral. When the city authorities go to her house for a tax problem, she tells them she is not subject to taxes in Jefferson even though Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.
She finds her a lover Homer Barron, whom the reader can guess that he is homosexual. When she hears that he is going to leave her, she buys arsenic and kills him. After her death, the townspeople find the grey hair in the bed next to Homer’s remains meaning she has been sleeping with the corpse. The reader can discover isolation in the beginning of part II: “So she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell” (Faulkner 85). This moment gives the reader another message of Emily’s isolation.
Most reader can guess the reason for the smell: Homer Barron was dead. The last proof, “after her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all,” (85) reiterates the fact that Emily is isolated. This quotation has two points; her father makes her isolation and Homer Barron isolates her mind, which seems to be what her father intended. There is no getting around the fact that “A Rose for Emily” is a story about the extremes of isolation – by physical and emotional.
This Faulkner classic shows us the process by which human beings become isolate by their families, by their community, by tradition, by law, by the past, and by their own actions and choices. In effect, this story takes a stand against such isolation, and against all those who isolate others. In the “Young Goodman Brown” by Hawthorne, the work centers around a young Puritan, lonely man, in New England, and his deal with the Devil. At the beginning of the story, even though his wife, Faith, tries to dissuade him, Goodman Brown, he leaves on the trip anyway and meets old man.
When he follows him on a gloomy forest, he sees many people such as Goody Cloyse, pious woman, and the minister of the church and Deacon Gookin, who are also apparently on their way to the ceremony. Goodman Brown was Shocked; he swears that even though everyone else in the world has gone to the devil, for Faith’s sake he will stay true to God. However, he soon hears voices coming from the ceremony and thinks he recognizes Faith’s voice. Faith ignores when he screams and has turned to evil. The next morning Goodman Brown return to Salem Village, and every person he passes seems evil to him.
He does not trust anyone in his village. He lives the rest of his life in gloom and fear. This short story is famous for being representation of American Romantic literature. The reader can find just a few important quotes from the short story. In the forest Brown saw a mixture of pious and dissolute people, and it was strange to see that “the good shrank not from the wicked, nor were the sinners abashed by the saints” (331). Brown chose to see that all were evil and lost his chance at redemption when he chose to isolate himself and to “shrink from his Faith” and fellow man. By the sympathy of your human hearts for sin ye shall scent out all the places—whether in church, bedchamber, street, field, or forest—where crime has been committed, and shall exult to behold the whole earth one stain of guilt, one mighty blood spot” (332). Near the end of the story, Goodman Brown has seen the evil in every person, and it causes isolating of his life. In the story, the narrator poses an important question: “Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting? ” (Meyer 333). The choice is dream or reality.
Whatever the reader chooses to believe, Goodman Brown’s own horrible doubts create a central theme of the tale (Fogel 21). Hawthorne’s mental and moral beliefs are revealed throughout “Young Goodman Brown. ” Puritans believed that the fall of Adam was the inheritance of all men, and that redemption came only through Christ. Hawthorne came to believe that the fall was by human contrivance, that damnation is not inherited but chosen and is redeemable through human agency. (Adams 5) The devil reminds Brown about the past and the devil knows his father and grandfather from past encounters.
Theme is hypocrisy and deception that would describe the devil’s temptations and promises to Goodman Brown, his father, his grandfather, and anyone else. Other theme would be isolation because of the location where Goodman Brown is at which is a dark forest where he is all alone with no one in the area. The short story, “Good country people” by O’Connor, also has a character of isolation. This story starts in rural Georgia; Mrs. Hopewell runs her family farm with the help of tenants Mr. and Mrs. Freeman. Mrs. Hopewell’s daughter, Joy, who got her leg cut off in an accident when she was a child.
She now lives at home with her mother. Thirty-three-year-old Joy has earned a PhD in philosophy, but she does not seem to have much common sense. In an act of rebellion, she has changed her name to Hulga, and she lives in a state of annoyed anger at her mother and Mrs. Freeman. A Bible salesman comes to the door, claiming his name is Manly Pointer, and manages to get invited to dinner. He and Hulga make a date to have a picnic together the next day. That night Hulga imagines with her superior mind and education that she is in control and that she will seduce him.
However, the next day by the time they have climbed into a barn loft, Manly manages to persuade her to take off her glasses and then her wooden leg which he packs in a suitcase, between a “Bible” which is really a box with liquor and pornographic cards in it. As Manly leaves Hulga without her false leg, he tells her that he collects prostheses from the disabled. She is shocked to realize that he is not “good country people. ” Hulga, main character, is always trying to escape from the Southern social conventions and stereotypes in which her mother and Mrs. Freeman are immersed.
Hulga is self-assured about her self and her vision of life and people from a nihilistic and atheist point of view; as she says in this story, “If science is right, then one thing stand firm: Science wishes to know nothing of nothing. Such is after all the strictly scientific approach to nothing. we knows it by wishing to know nothing of nothing. ” (381) She is also very proud of her education with a Ph. D. in Philosophy. Hulga rejects any possibility of mixing with the people around her. She creates a condition of self-isolation in her life. “You poor baby. it’s just as well you don’t understand. (389) The young woman fails to see that there is much more to life than what you can learn in a book. Due to a heart condition, however, Hulga is forced to remain home on the farm, instead of being in an academic setting where her education would be recognized and encouraged. This attitude that she is above most other people isolates Hulga from everyone around her. Hulga does not understand herself as innocent; indeed, she considers herself quite experienced because her education has given her access to philosophers such as Nietzsche, whose words she underlines with a blue pencil: “science wishes to know nothing of nothing. (Ditsky 3) These short stories have lonely characters, “Emily,” “Goodman Brown,” and “Hulga,” who avoid from their family or society. These stories’ authors teach the reader that they can find isolation in processing when the main characters fight against their life. There is one thing common ground between them. That is a tragic fate at the end of their isolation from the world. However, if they think a little differently, the result does not have to be tragic. Thus, the reader can learn a lesson from these stories that we need to stay positive and not become a part of the isolation.