How are the protagonist in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" comparable?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Miss Emily Grierson, the protagonist of "A Rose for Emily", and the Grandmother, the protagonist of Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" share a number of similar character traits. Their similarities stem not only from both women's upbringing, but also from the dissonance of their actions within the social dynamics of the world in which they live now.

Both, Miss Emily and the Grandmother, are women of the old South. Respectively, Faulkner and O'Connor paint a picture of Old Southern women as individuals who tend to be resilient, self-centered, unable to let go of the past, and "stuck" in their old ways.

We find evidence of these behaviors in how both of the women tend to make a choice, and in how none of them will let go of their idea until they get what they want. Just like Emily got Homer Barron in the end, at whichever price, the Grandmother got her wish of going in a different direction during the family trip. Both women imposed their wishes over those of the people around them.

Moreover, the character of Emily and the character of the Grandmother tend to foreshadow a tragedy, which, in the end, they both end up witnessing in different ways. Emily's tragedy is that, due to her stuck-up ways, she is unable to live in tandem with the modern world outside her home. As a result, she is rendered as obsolete, and eccentric. So eccentric she is, in fact, that she kills a man and sleeps with his body until the moment of her own death. She is willing to do anything and everything to make the world go at her own pace. This completely throws the rest of her society off balance.

Similarly, the Grandmother changes the destiny of those around her after forcing her family into changing their already-planned vacation journey, just for the sake of her whims. Her impertinence leads the family towards the path of a serial killer who finishes off the entire clan, including the Grandmother. Even during her last hour, she shows that self-centered behavior that is typical of a person who only cares for her own safety and security. Like Emily, the Grandmother cared very little about everyone else around her. In the end, she also ended her life alone.

In conclusion, Emily and the Grandmother are similar in that they display the behaviors of the Old South: they are stubborn, strong-willed, and prone to only care about what is best and proper for themselves. As a result, they make decisions which are not necessarily the most positive or beneficial. Nevertheless, they impose their wishes upon others, affecting the lives of those around them to the point of changing them forever. Unfortunately, the strong will of the two women is not a positive trait: both women only use their will to self-serve their silly whims, and to set the world off its natural balance.

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pickserena | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

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Thank you so much!  I have to write this essay in class in 2 hours.  Can you give me an idea for a thesis?  I can run with it from there - I just have a difficult time putting together a solid thesis.

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