William Faulkner has written some of the most unique novels and short stories of any author, and, to this day, his stories continue to be enjoyed by many. Both “Barn Burning” and “A Rose for Emily” tell about the life of southern people and their struggles with society, but Faulkner used the dramatic settings of these two stories to create a mood unlike any other and make the audience feel like they too were a part of these southern towns. These two stories have many similarities in there setting, but they also have many differences to that make them unique and interesting.
In many of Faulkner’s stories, he tells about an imaginary county in Mississippi named Yoknapatawpha. He uses this county as the setting for his story “Barn Burning” and it is also thought that the town of Jefferson from “A Rose for Emily” is located in Yoknapatawpha County. The story of a boy’s struggle between being loyal to his family or to his community makes “Barn Burning” exciting and dramatic, but a sense of awkwardness and unpleasantness arrives from the story of how the fictional town of Jefferson discovers that its long time resident, Emily Grierson, has been sleeping with the corpse of her long-dead friend with whom she has had a relationship with.
Another point is, both stories take place after the civil war, but “Barn Burning” takes place in a more rural area. In paragraph 2 of “A Rose for Emily,” it says, “only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps.” This statement gives proof that Jefferson is an urban society that is moving into the industrial period. The Snopes family in “Barn Burning” lives in ...
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... about the stench coming from Miss Emily’s home, the conflict begins. The neighbor, being of a younger generation, feels that the courts should do something about it, but the eighty-year-old Judge Stevens responds by saying, “Dammit sir, will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?” The social context of the story and the different feeling of the characters make for a unique setting and atmosphere.
Whether the setting of a story is insignificant or important strictly depends on the way the author develops the time, place, atmosphere, and social context. In Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and “A Rose for Emily” the setting becomes a huge contributor toward the overall mood and timeline of the stories. Faulkner wrote these two short stories in such a way that the audience feels like they’re living in that dusty old house or the farming community in rural Mississippi.
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