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“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, “The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” by Marques, and “Cathedral” by Carver Essay

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Updated: Dec 3rd, 2021

The novella “A Rose for Emily”, written by the famous American author, William Faulkner, tells the story of a lonely woman, Emily Grierson, who lives in seclusion and has virtually no contacts with other people. She has always been restricted by her father, who believed that his daughter was the most beautiful woman in the neighborhood and no man could be a suitable match for her. When he dies, Emily is unable to find a substitution for him because she has always viewed her father as the embodiment of all virtues. The only person, who takes interest in her, is Homer Baron. Yet, he does not intend to marry Emily, because she is just a plaything for him. Having learned that, the main character murders Homer, and his dead body remains in her house for many years, this horrible secret is disclosed only when Emily dies.

In this short story, William Faulkner explores such highly complicated issues as the attitude towards an individual. The author shows how people can take pleasure in the misfortunes and miseries of another person. The narrator says, “So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated” (Faulkner, 14). This novella is a deep psychological analysis of relationships between individuality and community.

“The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” is a short story by a prominent Latin American writer Gabriel Garcia Marques. At the very beginning, people living in a coastal village find the body of a man that has been cast ashore. Initially, it seems to them that this is just some see animal or even whale though later they understand that this is the body of a human being. As the story progresses, villagers begin to worship this corpse, they even name it, Sebastian. Women, living in the village believe that this is the embodiment of male beauty. Nevertheless, they have to bury him. These people can never forget him because Sebastian has become an inseparable part of their community.

This story can be interpreted from different standpoints. It seems the author illustrates the way in which people can create idols for themselves. The fact that a “slinky bulge” may eventually transform into an object of worship and even an animate being is very telling (Marques, 18).

Raymond Carvers short story “Cathedral” evolves around the person who is firmly convinced of his well-being and his happiness. Probably, it would be better to say that he wants other people to believe that it is true. As it turns out this is just a deceptive façade, which is broken when the narrator encounters a blind man Robert. The narrator tries to feel superior to this man though later he realizes that Roberts life is much more satisfying than his own. The storyteller tries to convince oneself that this blind man is somewhat handicapped, he says that blind “men never laugh”, wishing to find a drawback or defect in Robert (Carver, 209). Throughout the text, Raymond Carver compares such notions to physical and spiritual blindness. Although the narrator deems himself to be a self-sufficient person, his addiction to drugs and his unhappy relationships with his wife clearly indicate that this man follows the principle “Ignorance is bliss” whereas Robert, in spite of his physical blindness can see the best in other people. To a certain degree, Raymond Carvers novella springs from the famous ancient tragedy “Oedipus the King”, in which Sophocles also shows how terrible it is to be spiritually blind.

It is difficult to recommend only one of these stories because all of them are masterpieces of world literature. Yet, I would like to recommend “Cathedral” by Carver, because the author skillfully demonstrates how often we may be mistaken in our judgment and how dangerous it is to cherish only one’s illusions.

Bibliography

Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Gregory Rabazza. “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the

World: A Tale for Children”. Creative Education, 1995.

Raymond Carver. “Cathedral: stories.” Vintage Books, 1989.

William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily”. Dramatic Publishing, 1983.

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"“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, “The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” by Marques, and “Cathedral” by Carver." IvyPanda, 3 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/a-rose-for-emily-by-faulkner-the-handsomest-man-drowned-in-the-world-by-marques-and-cathedral-by-carver/.

1. IvyPanda. "“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, “The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” by Marques, and “Cathedral” by Carver." December 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-rose-for-emily-by-faulkner-the-handsomest-man-drowned-in-the-world-by-marques-and-cathedral-by-carver/.


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IvyPanda. "“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, “The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” by Marques, and “Cathedral” by Carver." December 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-rose-for-emily-by-faulkner-the-handsomest-man-drowned-in-the-world-by-marques-and-cathedral-by-carver/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, “The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” by Marques, and “Cathedral” by Carver." December 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-rose-for-emily-by-faulkner-the-handsomest-man-drowned-in-the-world-by-marques-and-cathedral-by-carver/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, “The Handsomest Man Drowned in the World” by Marques, and “Cathedral” by Carver'. 3 December.

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