Is it possible to link "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather and "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner thematically?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story Paul's Case by Willa Cather and the story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner have certain themes that they share in common.

One of those themes is non-conformity and the inability to accept life just like it is. In the case of Paul, he dreams of having the life of a dandy in such an obsessive way that he stops at nothing to try to achieve his dream. Similarly,the character of Emily cannot and will not accept that times have hanged, that she is not the Southern aristocrat that she used to be, and that she is simply not loved by the man she loves, Homer.

Like Paul, Emily went outside of the paradigms of common sense and reason to achieve her desire to keep Homer by killing him and keeping his body until her death. Paul's extreme measure was to escape to New York, live under a false identity, and then end his own life when he realized that the end of his lie was near.

The isolation, dejection, and loneliness that these two main characters experience is a result of their non-conformity and inability to adapt to life. Therefore, madness and other strange behaviors take control of them. Thematically speaking, that would be the best way to combine these two otherwise diverse stories together. However, it is a fact that the theme of non-conformity and loneliness hit hard on both stories, with the same results.

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Paul's Case

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