Compare and contrast Emily Grierson from the story "A Rose for Emily" with the madman from the story "The Tell-Tale Heart".I need to make a 4 page long compare and contrast essay of this two...

Compare and contrast Emily Grierson from the story "A Rose for Emily" with the madman from the story "The Tell-Tale Heart".

I need to make a 4 page long compare and contrast essay of this two characters, and I have no idea how to begin. I would appreciate some help. Thank You

Expert Answers
pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Each of the characters is compelled by a desperate emotion, misguided and informed by a twisted perception of reality.  For Emily, killing Homer Barron and keeping his rotting corpse, sleeping beside his dead body.  

The narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart stalks his victim in his bedroom, observing him nightly until he decides to kill him. 

Emily is driven to kill Homer Barron to stop him from leaving her, so that she won't be alone.  The narrator must kill the old man because of his sick eye.  He decides that the old man has an evil eye capable of putting a curse on him.

Each character's motivation comes from an unstable mind, both characters are mentally unstable.  They are both delusional and have a distorted perception of reality. 

Both victims are innocent, they, in no way, instigate their own deaths.  Neither victim deserved to die, they are sacrificed to satisfy a demented need that cannot be fulfilled in any other way, because both the narrator and Miss Emily are isolated from society and exist in a fantasy world of their own making, where they are compelled to commit murder. 

favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One major difference between Emily Grierson and the narrator of Poe's story is that Poe's narrator is insane. He doesn't truly understand why he hates the old man's "vulture eye" so much—it is likely because it reminds him of death, and he is terrified of his own mortality—but if he rids himself of the old man, then he will never have to look at the object that so terrifies him. This narrator stalks the old man, night after night, waiting for his eye to be open so that he can kill him.

Emily, on the other hand, does not seem crazy. Certainly she's a murderer, like Poe's narrator, and they both clearly premeditate the murders they commit, but Emily's fear is of being alone. Poe's narrator has no problem with being alone, but Emily's solitary life is the tragic result of her father's belief that no one is good enough for her.

She seems, murder aside, to be a great deal more sane than Poe's narrator, a man who believes he can hear another's heartbeat from across a room or that he can still hear that heartbeat even after the man's death and dismemberment.

mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Comparisons:  They both murdered someone, they both kept the remains on the property, they both-at first-got away with the murders, they both were probably a little bit mentally disturbed, and driven to their acts by fear or intensity.

Contrasts:  Miss Emily never confessed nor was caught for her crime, she had sociality again (painting lessons), was probably driven to her murder from fear of being alone, not by fear of that person being there as with the other narrator.  The narrator from the Tell-Tale Heart has a conscience that manifests itself at one point (through the beating heart), whereas we have no indication of remorse on Emily's part.  The old man murdered was an incredible nuisance and threat to the narrator, whereas Homer Barron was just going to abandon Emily, most likely.

Those are just a few similarities and differences.  I provided links below to thorough discussions of all elements of both stories, and that should also be helpful.

Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

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