How would you contrast the personalities of Emily in "A Rose for Emily" and the Grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the grandmother tries to save herself by pleading with the Misfit:

You've got good blood! I know you wouldn't shoot a lady! I know you come from nice people! Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady. I'll give you all the money I've got!

The Misfit responds:

Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead and He shouldn't have done it. He shown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can--by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness.

Just before it is her turn to be shot, the grandmother says:

Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" She touches the Misfit on the shoulder, and he springs back "as if a snake had bitten him and [shoots] her three times through the chest.

The Misfit tells his accomplice to throw the grandmother into the woods with the others, adding: "She would have bee a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

In "A Rose for Emily," Miss Emily clings to death and the past.  She refuses to let her father be buried, and, paranoid that Homer will leave her, she has him murdered, then sleeps with his corpse.  She is a Gothic symbol of the Old South, its aristocratic illegitimacies and painful transformation during Reconstruction.  Her character represents the Old South sleeping with the enemy (the North) in the perverse (dare I say "gay"?) Homer Baron.

Both women are leveled by death and operate in the past, taking it for granted.  Miss Emily's predicament is more social/historical: Miss Emily believes she is a privileged debutante, until her father dies and she is left a spinster.  The grandmother's plight is more spiritual: she believes she is redeemed, until she meets an angel of death.


brandih eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You might also want to check out the free guide on eNotes called, How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay.

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A Rose for Emily

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