The short story, as with other literary forms, is not defined by its actual parameters. Subject and theme may be as varied as those within full-length novels, just as the author's individual style plays an inevitable role in shaping the work. That said, there is a common element uniting short stories; they usually create impact due to the brevity itself, which authors typically rely on to make a more direct impression. Condensed, the form offers more overt power, and this is evident in how William Faulkner and Edgar Allan Poe employ it to achieve distinctly Gothic effects. “A Rose for Emily” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are very different stories set in very different worlds, and the tone of the narration in each is equally different. Nonetheless, the stories both offer strong symbolism, and they each rely on how the short story amplifies the Gothic, or dark, by virtue of brief presentation.
Poe's “The Cask of Amontillado” and Faulkner's “A Rose for Emily” both employ a narrator, if not of a similar kind. Each has a specific purpose and a unique story to tell, and the stories are uniformly dark, if not tragic. However, what greatly separates the narrators' voices is tone. With
Poe there is a powerfully elaborate and melodramatic voice in play, consistently demanding understanding and consistently expressing righteous anger. This is clear from the first line, which comes to the reader as a violent challenge acknowledged by the narrator: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge” (Poe). The stage is then abruptly set for high drama to follow, as the tone blatantly indicates a baroque attitude. Moreover, Montresor tells his story in a conf...
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...than Faulkner, if he also employs it in broad strokes. Beyond this, however, there remains the fact that both stories have distinct cores of Gothic darkness to reveal, and each revelation benefits from the brevity of the genre. Faulkner's “A Rose for Emily” and Poe's “The Cask of Amontillado” are very different stories set in very different worlds, and the tone of the narration in each is also different. Nonetheless, the stories each offer strong symbolism, as they each rely on how the short story amplifies the Gothic by virtue of shorter length.
Fargnoli, A. N., & Golay, M. Critical Companion to William Faulkner. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print.
Faulkner, W. A Rose for Emily and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 2012. Print.
Poe, E. A. “The Cask of Amontillado” 2014. Web.
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