Characterization is the process by which fictional characters are presented. Both tales present characters in its different formal elements but the essay will discuss the elements of narration view, character and symbolism to try to expound on how these elements are brought out in both tales. This paper identifies and discusses different formal elements of characterization specifically the narrator, character and symbolism and how they assist the author in expressing characterization.
One way the author brings characterization is by the use of the narrative voice. The short story uses a first-person narrator and uses an observer-narrator to get the reader to share the authors view as evident in such quotes as...... We were a little disappointed that public blowing-off, but we believed that he had gone on to prepare for Miss Emily's ..." Shows that the narrator observed this event and was not active or involved in these events.
The author also uses an indirect presentation to portray miss Emily character based on what people said about her which was not necessarily true for example when the narrator says Therefore, the next day we all said, "She will kill herself" this portrays her as suicidal that is not the case. The character of the narrator is also unreliable evident from the above quote (and many others) the above narration is based mostly on hearsay, for example,"... Then some of the women began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example.. An expository presentation is used by the author to present Homer Barron by his physical and personal character description" a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him curse the riggers . Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square; Homer Barron would be in the centre of the group." As a character, good physical attributes, vulgar and funny/jovial.
Symbolism as an element of characterization can be seen in the story to represent characters and objects. When describing Miss Emilys beauty the author uses such words, as "...The Fallen monument" as a symbol of the beauty of which older men were aware of it in Miss Emily younger years. Another instance is when the author says She vanquished them horse and foot. To mean his lack of cooperation with the mayor. ..Board of Aldermen met--three greybeards and one younger man" again in the above sentence the author, describes the board as having men of advanced age as members of the board by using the symbol "grey beards to signify experience and change in times which Miss Emily had refused to embrace.
In sharp contrast, the author of the cask of amontillado uses a first-person voice narrator. It gives the author objectivity since narration of events is from his personal experiences" I learned that he had laughed at my name" also portrays the narrator as unreliable. Montresor uses his subjective experience of Fortunatos insult to name himself judge, jury, and executioner in this tale, which proves he is an unreliable narrator. The narrator also characterizes himself as a vengeful person with no regard for the law to bring out the conflict between the antagonist and the protagonist character. Fortunato is described as a drunk and a merry character where themes of betrayal and distrust brought out for example;" He spoke to me more warmly than was usual"I promised myself that I would make him pay for this" .such characterization contrast with A Rose for the Emily short story which brings out loneliness, mental instability, and self-pity to characterize Emily.
In conclusion, both tales contrast especially in such formal elements as narrator view and character creation. However, in some instances, the tales are told in first person form so we do not learn the narrator's name.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Cask of Amontillado Summary." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 3 Oct. 2017.
SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on A Rose for Emily. SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 2 Oct. 2017.
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