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“The Tale-Tell Heart” and “A Rose for Emily”

Two Stories about Two People

In the following paper, I will compare the two short stories; the first is “The Tale-Tell Heart” written in1843 by Edgar Allan Poe, and the second is “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Both of them are very interesting and have a fascinating plot, which fully involved me in the reading process from the begging until the end.

“The Tale-Tell Heart” is written from the first person. The author identifies himself as the main character who experiences all the emotions and things that are in the plot. The story is about a man, who decided to kill another very old man; both of the characters lived in the same house.

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It is not clear for me as a reader what was the original trigger or reason for the murder; this is not because there is something not mentioned in the text, but because I cannot come to an agreement with the author about the motive, which really surprises me. The main character just emphasizes his point with the phrase: “I think it was his eye!”. He clearly gives a reader a deep understanding of his actions making the point that neither gold nor some other things were a reason for the homicide. The main character’s point of view is argumentative and seems to be based purely on the emotions, which were in his soul when meeting the old man any time. At the end of the story, the main character gives himself up to the police by confessing what he did.

The story “A Rose for Emily” is about the life of a black woman who died at the age of seventy-four. It starts with the fact of death, and then the author takes a reader through all main events in Emily’s life. He shares with us the attitude of the neighbors, how often they felt sorry for her because of her father’s death and loneliness she had to face. Sometimes, they were happy to see that she was just to get married to Homer Barron or maybe they have got married. Unfortunately, he left her for no reason. Beaten by the destiny, Emily refused to leave her house for a number of years, and the emotions shown to her were compared to “sort of tragic and serene”. She never paid taxes because of the mayor Colonel Sartoris, who persuaded her that Emily’s father had loaned money for the town and she was free from taxation.

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He mainly did this, because his children were attending Emily’s classes of China painting. The woman really believed it and refused to pay any of those for all her life. From the plot, it is clearly shown that Emily was always a subject of interest for the people. When neighbors spotted a strange smell coming from the house or when she bought poison from the chemist, everyone thought she would commit suicide. Despite the unknown facts of what all that was about, the ending of the story is much unexpected and makes me think that she poisoned the man and the smell was from his body. However, this is only my assumption based on the emotions I have experienced while reading the story.

If to compare those two stories, I can definitely say that there are some common features. To my mind, one of the main themes concerns the life of elderly people and their loneliness as they face death in gruesome circumstances, even those quite different from each other. In “The Tale-Tell Heart”, the main character kills the old man. However, before his death, the poor man went through hell as the murderer has got into his room and in complete darkness created an intimidating, scary atmosphere, which caused a poor man to groan “of mortal terror”. In the “A Rose for Emily”, we can see absolutely another representative of older generation, who ended alone because of some tragedies in her life.

The story is predominantly descriptive and concentrates mainly on the life of Emily, but if to read between the lines, a reader can see how lonely and desperate the woman was. This is also a tragedy of her life. To my mind, another common thing about these two stories is the unexpected ending as no one could have predicted such an outcome. In the first story, the main character assures that he made everything possible to cover the outcome of his crime by dismantling the body, replacing the three planks. What is more important, he was keeping calm and even happy when the police came accidentally to search his house. This all failed, and the phrase “I admit the deed!” came as an outcry from his chest.

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In the second story, the most unexpected thing happened at the end, when there was a body of a man found in the room which was never seen open by anyone in the neighborhood.

I really enjoyed both stories thanks to the intricate plot and the fascinating language used by authors


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