Contrast the stories "Eveline" by James Joyce and "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner.

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In an interview William Faulkner spoke of "A Rose for Emily" as a tale that had an allegorical title, meaning that in his story

...here was a woman who has experienced... an irrevocable tragedy and nothing could be done about it, and I pitied her and this was a salute...a woman to whom you would give a rose.... (From Faulkner at Nagano, ed. Robert Jelliffe [Tokyo: Kenkyusha Ltd., 1956], pp. 70–71)

Thus, the tone of Faulkner's narrative seems more sympathetic than does that of James Joyce in "Eveline," which is about a young woman named "little Eve" who suffers what Joyce called a personal "paralysis" at the moment in which she is capable of acting upon her own destiny and changing the direction of her life.

Because of the strong patriarchal social system under which Emily has lived for so long, she seems trapped by the social system of the Old South. This oppressive hold of the past and its culture upon Emily is symbolized in the portrait of Emily and her father:

We had long thought of them as a tableau...her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung door. 

On the other hand, Eveline is not held by her father, although he also is domineering. Rather, her attempts to control her fate are stalled because of her adherence to her Catholicism, which dictates an obedience to God and her duty to family, a duty symbolized by the religious print of "the promises made to the blessed Mary Margaret Alacoque" and the yellowing photograph of the priest known only to her father.

She had hard work to keep the house together and to see that the two young children who had been left to her charge went to school regularly and got their meals regularly.

Nevertheless, Eveline does attempt an act of rebellion and escape with the sailor Frank, whereas Miss Emily Grierson's rebellion is small and she remains in her role of the daughter of a Southern aristocrat and "a fallen monument." Moreover, she traps the Northerner Homer Barron into her decayed environment rather than considering flight from her stultifying life with a man as does Eveline.

Finally, in Joyce's narrative of "Eveline," the protagonist clearly experiences an epiphany in which she realizes her fate as she becomes paralyzed by her fears of leaving and abandoning her duty:

No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish.

But it is time that has passed Miss Emily Grierson by: "...she passed from generation to generation, dear, inescapable...." There is no epiphany for Emily, who has dwelt in the "patient and abiding dust" of a time long ago.

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A Rose for Emily

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