How can I compare the plot between "A Rose For Emily" by William Faulkner and "A & P" by John Uplike?How can I compare them(for example, use of flashback or chronological...

How can I compare the plot between "A Rose For Emily" by William Faulkner and "A & P" by John Uplike?

How can I compare them(for example, use of flashback or chronological order, structure)? What differences are there between those two short stories?

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both of these stories are told by a first person narrator.  In "A Rose for Emily", that narrator is an unnamed town resident, very removed from the main characters of the story and from the audience.  However, in "A&P", Sammy is both the protagonist and the narrator, telling us his story about a significant moment of his life.

That is another difference between the stories.  "Emily" covers a number of incidents in Emily's life so that we can understand her character and the culture of the town.  "A&P" covers a single moment in Sammy's life in order to show his coming of age. 

The chronology of the stories are different as well.  "Emily" jumps around, starting with the present and working backwards, but jumping around in those movements - back and forth throughout Emily's history and the history of the town.  Sammy's story is chronological from the moment to the girls walk in to the moment he walks out.

However, both narrators do employ stream of consciousness, a narrative technique to follows the thought process of the narrator as opposed to a straight narrative.  In "Emily", the stream is shown in the inconsistent timeline.  Remembering certain events makes the narrator think of others, which causes the flashbacks and flashforwards.  In "A&P", Sammy streams his story with his own thoughts, sharing even unrelated thoughts as he brings us into his experience.

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A Rose for Emily

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