Comparing Life to Fiction

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Fiction often imitates life, as well as life imitates fiction, as we will see in the following comparison between a newspaper article in the Philadelphia Inquire in 1987 and a short story written by William Faulkner in 1930. Although there are some differences such as the time, place and circumstance, the two studies are chillingly similar.

In an article featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 30, 1987, titled " A Woman's Wintry Death Leads to a Long Dead Friend ", the body of Frances Dawson Hamilton, 70, was discovered by police after she had frozen to death in her home. Even more shocking was the discovery of a second body, that of Bernard J. Kelly, 84, in an upstairs bedroom. Kelly had apparently been dead for about two years, based on the last sighting by neighbors. The body was found in a twin bed, clothed in long johns and socks and draped with rosary beads and palm fronds. There were also two boxes of Valentine's Day candy beside the body. Hamilton had apparently been sleeping beside Kelly as a second bed had been pushed up alongside his deathbed. (1. Kirsner, 119) (2. Pothier)

Hamilton had been born into an affluent family, was well educated and had lived in her two-story brick home her entire life. Neighbors had said that she and Kelly had lived together at least fifteen years before the discovery. (1. Kirsner, 119) (2. Pothier)

The story " A Rose for Miss Emily ", which was set in a timeframe between 1865 and 1930, has much in common with the aforementioned article. Miss Emily was also from an affluent family. Her father had sheltered her. After his death she became somewhat of a recluse. A man named Homer Barron came to town to do cement work on the sidewalks and streets. They became friends. They were regularly seen around town. Even though he drank quite abit and by his own admit liked men, the townspeople thought they might get married. (1. Faulkner)

Miss Emily bought some arsenic from the druggist refusing to state her intended use. She also purchased a man's toiletry set and clothing. Everyone assumed that they had been married. Miss Emily had two cousins staying with. After the street work was finished, Homer left and did not return until her family had gone. He was seen entering Miss Emily's kitchen door and was never seen again until his body was discovered years later in an upstairs room of Miss Emily's house.

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