Hemingway, Charlotte Perkins Gilman And Hills Like White Elephants

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What would literature be, had every author used the same perspective for every single story? Literature would not be as well received as it currently is received. Take three American short stories, “Hills Like White Elephants,” “A Rose for Emily,” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” for example. These stories, by Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman respectively, each utilize a different point of view. The perspective of a story heavily influences the emotional impact of the story on a reader and that impact varies based on the content of the story. Hemingway’s story “Hills Like White Elephants” is written in third person. This narrator is objective and limited. It is objective, by not giving thoughts or opinions about …show more content…
Faulkner employs a first person, communal narrator in his story “A Rose for Emily.” This narrator speaks as a “we,” not an “I,” and covers a spread of generations. They never truly know Miss Emily – just as a figure or relic. The narrator also tends to act as the community’s gossiper – they seem to know what happens and what the community thinks of those happenings. This narrator is also rather subjective, giving the readers their opinion of what goes on as well. A prime example of the narration in “A Rose for Emily” is “We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to what which had robbed her, as people will” (219). The “we” mentality of the narrator – speaking as a group for a community and for several generations – is apparent throughout the story and is well highlighted in the selected quotation. The narrator does not tell the story with regards to chronology. They speak as if in a conversation with the reader, remembering details here and …show more content…
Hemingway creates the sense of eavesdropping on a private conversation between a couple in “Hills Like White Elephants.” This sense of eavesdropping allows readers to draw assumptions about the main characters – creating distance from the situation but sympathy for Jig. In “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner builds up suspension by writing as if the narrator is conversing with the writer – not following the actual timeline of events. This suspension allows for a large shock at the end of the story, similar to how the narrator is shocked when they break down the door in Miss Emily’s house. Gilman, in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” forces readers to be pulled into the narrator’s decline into madness on a very personal level. This proximity to the narrator’s feelings allows the reader to empathize with her when she accomplishes her “goal” of surprising John and partially reverses the power roles, even though the narrator is completely insane at that point as well. Each of these stories has very different point of views, but they apply the best perspective to make the greatest impact on the

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