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Literature Comparison Essay

1829 words - 8 pages

Monty Miller
Literature Comparison
Robert Browning's poems “Porphyria's Lover” and William Faulkner’s story “A Rose for Emily” are stories of where the characters Emily Grierson (“A Rose for Emily”) and Porphyria’s lover ('Porphyria's Lover') are so insanely in love to the point they cannot live without the one they feel so strongly for, which drives them to insanity and murder. Emily Grierson and Porphyria’s lovers insanity are brought on from different emotional states. Insanity or mental illness is defined as “any disease or condition affecting the brain that influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and/or relates to others and to his or her surroundings” (Amal Chakraburtty). ...view middle of the document...

These turbulent words give the poem an eerie feeling. The lover is waiting for her as told by the line “I listened with heart fit to break” (Browning). This line indicates that the lover is not sure whether Porphyria will show up or not, so the lovers emotional state could be one of anger or frustration for Porphyria not being there when he wanted thinking she is too good for him. This may also indicate that Porphyria lover is a commoner or servant. When Porphyria arrives at the cottage, she is dripping wet. The description of the clothing that Porphyria is wearing gives us a clue that Porphyria is from an upper-class family. She was wearing a cloak and shawl, a hat, and gloves.
Porphyria's Lover is very unresponsive at first though Porphyria tries to speak with him. This is seen in the line, “And, last, she sat down by my side And called me. When no voice replied, She put my arm about her waist” (Browning). Though he wanted her next to him, he is consumed by his resentment of her. She tries to talk to him but he does not respond. Even though Porphyria professed her love for him he feels that she is “Too weak, for all her heart’s endeavor to set its struggling passion free” (Browning) in line twenty two. The fact that he sees her as being “Weak” makes him seem very condescending, and his view of her love for him is one of a struggle because Prophyria has not giving herself entirely to him which upsets him greatly.
Porphyria’s lover realizes that she will never abandon her current life for their love is forbidden, so he then kills her with her own long blonde hair. After sitting all night with her, cuddling her dead body, he suggests that she is actually happy to be dead. This shows he is completely insane and feels the only way he can be with his lover is if she is dead and at that pivoting moment in which he feels she truly loves him, he wants to preserve the moment and keep her frozen in time forever. The tone throughout the poem suggests that Porphyria’s lover was not a sane man and that his state of sanity grew when he realized she would not belong to him alone.
Now in contrast to the love for Porphyria that drove her lover to commit the insane act of murder so she would be his forever and no one else, is the short story of “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. This story tells the life of Emily Grierson and is narrated in third person presumable from one of the town folk. The story takes you back and forth in time and is about a woman named Emily Grierson who comes from an astute background that was raised by her father and never permitted to date. After her father’s death Emily had shown signs of mental instability when for three days she refused to acknowledge his death telling everyone her father was not dead. Emily now alone, except for Toby, a family servant, lives in the house her father left her. One Homer Barron briefly courted Emily for a short time a year or so after her father’s death. The town thought that they would...

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