Summary of the Main Fiction Books
Emily Grierson lived in her southern town as the richest woman. In solitude, she lived alone before her death. As a young woman, she was regarded too good enough for any of the men that fancied her according to her dead father. Later in her life, Emily found true love with Homer Barron, a suspected homosexual by the town because he was more interested in the men than Emily Grierson. After Homer’s disappearance, Emily bought arsenic. Suicide was talked about until her death due to sickness. When the town opened up the dirty house, the smell of decay that once haunted the streets of the town dispersed. Out of respect, the town waited a few days to open the second floor of the house. In it, the town discovered the decomposing body of Homer and Emily’s grey hair along with it, indicating she had slept with him even after death. Reflection: A Rose for Emily “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is a short story in which I pitied the main character, Emily Grierson.
As a young woman, she was liked by many men but her father would not permit them to marry her. I believed this gave her little experience with males. Everything Emily did after that built the story in complexity. She meets a love interest who is homosexual and wants to marry him. He tries leaving her and for that, she buys poison and kills him. The climactic action of choosing to poison Homer was built up with challenges with the opposite sex like her father’s death. The falling action of her solitude and death was expected. Even though the death of Homer was predictable, the final resolution of the town entering her second story house was nice. I was very anxious when the town discovered the corpse of Homer Barron with traces of her hair on the pillow next to his. She was a misunderstood shut in who knew very little of society compared to the rest of the town.
“Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield describes an old woman’s day by starting off with her in a park. She talks to her fur coat after she sits in her seat. She then talks about how boring some the people that have to sit beside her have been over the years. She proceeds to judge others by their conversations and mentally buts in. After a while, she starts to notice the band plays the mood of the conversation of each person.
After a few people, she begins to imagine herself reading to a man as if she were an actor. After she is done pretending, a young couple notices her after a small argument and the young man questions her presence. The young couple then laughs and makes fun of her. Miss Brill notices and goes home after getting a slice of cake from her favorite store. She puts up her coat and thinks she hears crying coming from within the box. Reflection: Miss Brill Miss Brill, a tutor of English for French children, once again finds herself in a park listening to the conversations of others. She only comes to the park to listen to the lives of others. Throughout the story, to the reader, it is noticeable that she is not wanted at the park by the people in it. Although, without the proper motivation, she stays in the park pretending as if she can somehow live the lives of others if she listens hard enough. Repeatedly, she judges others by the conversations that she overhears. Unsurprisingly, at the end of the story, it is revealed that she herself is lonely and old. Throughout the story, she focuses so much on the lives of others that she completely ignores the very pathetic life she is stuck in. I believe that she distracts herself from her horrible reality by listening to the more interesting lives of others.
I Stand Here Ironing
“I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen, the story begins with a nameless mother ironing. She is talking to a person about her daughter Emily and how she was a beautiful baby but became fragile as the years went by. Emily is described as a wise child who desperately wanted attention from her mother. At the age of seven, the mother sent Emily to a nursery school where the adults could take better care of her. Years later, the mother had another child named Sarah. Emily was jealous of Sarah because she was seen as the social and beautiful one. The mother points out that Emily resented her for her absence in her childhood. The mother attempts to bond with Emily by encouraging her to enter a school amateur show. Emily ends winning the show by telling jokes for the audience. The story ends with the mother admitting that Emily was influenced by depression, fear, and war.
Reflection: I Stand Here Ironing In “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen the story begins with a mother ironing in her home. Just by the setting, the story is already hitting a point of family and home. During the Depression Era before the government interfered with the well being of the country was the time of Emily’s birth, the first child of the nameless mother. An interpretation of such magnitude with very little explanation is the setting. The hardworking mother during the Depression Era had to be cold to Emily so that she could provide for everything alone. The setting reeled me into what I thought was going to be a simple story of a mother working hard. But it was more than that, I was sympathetic to the hardworking mother who sacrificed her own happiness of bonding with her first child for the ability to provide instead.
The Cask of Amontillado
In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the narrator is Montresor. Montresor is an Italian nobleman who believes his acquaintance, Fortunato, offended him. Montresor knows that Fortunato believes himself to be able to differentiate almost all wine and uses that knowledge to trick him. Montresor disguises himself as a mason during a carnival and tells Fortunato that he has an Amontillado and suspects it to be cheap and not what it seems. Fortunato seems to not be as interested and tells Montresor that no one would ever do that during the carnival. Montresor then pretends to act more interested in another noble, Luchresi, because he also claims to be a great wine taster.
Fortunato then quickly tells Montresor he would taste it. The drunk Fortunato follows Montresor deep into the Montresor cellar and gets tied up. Montresor builds up a wall and leaves the pleading Fortunato in the cellar untouched for half a century. Reflection: The Cask of Amontillado In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the point of view never differs from the perspective of Montresor. In the beginning, I noticed that only he was speaking of the offense and the plan of revenge. Even when there was a dialogue between Montresor and Fortunato, Montresor spoke for Fortunato in the First Person. Montresor would indicate that Fortunato was just a part in his story by sayings things like, “Fortunato possessed himself on my arm.” Then when Fortunato does a mason gesture in front of Montresor to check if he really was whom he claimed to be, Montresor described it in his point of view. He showed the reader that the story is only told in his position. As a reader, I found the storytelling quite neat and clear. I understood the story quickly with the help of the way it was written. I was never confused when Montresor interpreted the dialogue and actions of Fortunato.
In “Araby” by James Joyce, The short story begins with a young boy describing the street he lives on and the now-dead priest who lived in his house before he moved into it. He then talked about how he and his friend, Mangan, would play on the street and hide when it was time to go. The Narrator then describes the hair and body of Mangan’s sister. He looks forward to passing her every day. One day, the sister and the Narrator finally meet and converse. She talks about wanting to go to a bazaar. She cannot go because she has to attend s retreat with her covenant. The Narrator then offers to bring her something from the bazaar. Later on in the story, he ends up arriving at the bazaar late because his uncle gets home late with the money needed for the bazaar. He ends up going alone and in the dark late at night. At the end of the story, the Narrator finds himself standing unwanted in a poorly lit shop. Reflection: Araby In “Araby” by James Joyce, the tone and mood of the story at the beginning is dull and sad. Everything described by the Narrator is dull in color and pale in interest.
I noticed the Author purposely set the colors in a dull way at the beginning so that when the love interest is introduced, she stands out. Mangan’s sister is depicted in a sort of vibrancy that separates her from the beginning of the story. I admired the color difference between the rusty brown bicycle at the beginning and the vibrant silver bracelet Mangan’s sister wore when she first talked to the Narrator. Although I thought the story was going to just lighten even more as it progressed, I was mistaken. The story took a dark turn when the Narrator is finally at the bazaar alone and giving off a hint of depression. The story seemed to leap out at me and tell me that he was never going to talk to Mangan’s sister again.
In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the story begins during the season of summer. The children in the story are introduced into the story while as gathering stones. Soon after the parents arrive and they all gather around the village square. The tradition of an unspecified lottery is done by a Mr. Summers. Mr. Summers carries a black wooden box into the square, and with some help, he begins to mix up pieces of paper inside the wooden box. After most of the town is accounted for, the adults are asked to pick out one piece of paper and see if there is a black dot on it. The process is done in two rounds to narrow it down into one person. In the end, a complaining woman named Mrs. Hutchinson is drawn as the final person. While she is stoned, she complains of not having enough time to pick a piece of paper properly. Reflection: The Lottery In “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the story is, to me, one whole allegory with smaller symbols in it. I find the story luring me into the mystery of the actual lottery.
The story’s hidden message is about narrow-minded people who rely on tradition to say their corrupted lives are good. The lottery is the tradition and the town folk, especially the older ones, are the narrow-minded individuals in which the story depicts as cruel and emotionless. The old black wooden box is, in my opinion, a symbol of ignorance. The abhorrent villagers pick from the box in fear of themselves becoming the target for the stones. The fear reprimands the villagers to comply with the tradition and when someone is chosen, the rest of the village looks the other way. As Mrs. Hutchinson becomes the target of stones, an older man begins to encourage the crowd to throw more and more.
A Worn Path
In “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, the story begins with an old woman walking in the woods during a cold December day. She is described as a frail and wrinkly woman by the author at the beginning. As she goes along her own path, she encounters many animals and people. Some of the encounters with people end up being a figure of her imagination as she admits confusing a scarecrow for a dancing ghost. She is attacked by a dog who ends up leaving her in a milkweed ditch. As a woman of her age, she cannot move out of the ditch without help. Fortunately, a hunter comes to her aid. Without a care, she continues her journey. After arriving in a city filled to the brim with Christmas Spirit, she walks into a building and goes up many stories. It is revealed she made the journey for the medicine her grandson needs. Reflection: A Worn Path In “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, the theme of the story is quite obvious for the reader.
With determination and perseverance, anything is possible. The main character, Old Pheonix, is very old and fragile. She is at an age where she should be taken cared for by the younger generation, but instead, she is taking care of them still. I believe she should have stayed home because she is an older woman who, with time, will not be able to do much. She goes through more than most can take. She is attacked and harassed. When the hunter pointed the gun at her after helping her, I was astonished at how much the author wanted the reader to feel as if they were in her shoes. Completely mortified, I kept reading until a sigh of relief exited my mouth when he then explains he was joking around. Even though all of that, she pulls through and finishes her quest of tribulations with obtaining her grandson’s medicine.