Describe the effects of circumstance the characters in "A Rose For Emily" and "Young Goodman Brown."Include the things such as geographical location, family, and cultural background.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Miss Emily Grierson's case, the appearance of Homer Barron seemed to be her best last chance of finding a man to love. She was an aging spinster who apparently had already eliminated any possibility of getting together with any of the single men remaining in Jefferson. Her father had earlier discouraged Emily's suitors, and there seemed to be no one in the town left who met the high standards dictated by him. So, when Homer arrived in town, he became an instant possibility--more so by chance than by compatibility. Homer met few of Emily's (and her father's) social expectations: He was a life-long bachelor, a common laborer and a Yankee. But he was likable and outgoing, and he knew nothing of Emily's past. For Emily, the new man in town was someone who might fill her desire for companionship, and in a little town like Jefferson, there would be few such chances.

James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question sounds like a very good assignment. I don't want to do all the work answering it, but I'll gladly make a few comments that I hope you will find helpful.

The main (title) characters seem, at least in some ways, to live under very different circumstances: the South versus the North, the industrial age versus the colonial age, a very wealthy and influential family versus a more average family, and so on. At the same time, though, both characters strike me as being mostly very passive in the stories. They seem to be acted upon (that is, they really feel "the effects of circumstances") more than they act to shape their own lives. Both stories seem to me to deal with the power of circumstances and the limits on individual choice.

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A Rose for Emily

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