A Rose for Emily Analysis
Humor is a literary technique that authors use in enhancing the structures of their plots. Different authors use humor differently in sustaining the consumption of their works. Humor refers to the tendency of the actions in a plot to elicit laughter and amusement. William Faulkner, one of America’s most renowned novelists often portrays a systematic structure of humor in his works. He uses numerous other literary and stylistic devices in developing a unique type of humor in each of his works. In As I Lay Dying, A Rose for Emily and That Evening Sun Faulkner develops unique plots in which he infuses humor in his attempt to enhance the conflict in the plots while enhancing the readership of his works. In developing humorous plots, he uses unique literary devices that fit the context of every work thereby succeeding in developing original works each of which has a different form of humor relative to the plot as the discussion below portrays.
Just as stated earlier, each of the three novels has unique plots with characteristic humor embedded in the plots, the plot in A Rose for Emily, for example, is morbid owing to the fact that the plot addresses such themes as death. However, Faulkner succeeds in achieving humor in the plot owing to his unique use of other structural features of the plot. The narrator in the story has a sense of sarcasm thereby enhancing the humorous nature of the plot. Emily deals with the numerous men who come to see her sarcastically. She tells some of them, for example, to explain their case to Colonel Sartoris, a dead man. Such is her way of telling the men not to explain their excuses to her. The use of sarcasm in the novel is one of Faulkner’s ways of achieving sarcasm in most of his works.
Another instance of sarcasm in the plot of A Rose for Emily is a case when Emily’s neighbors begin noticing the development of a strange smell by her house. Judge Stevens, one of her neighbors asks another male neighbor who had suggested that they ask Emily about the smell if he could walk to a woman as ask if she smells “will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?” (Faulkner 5). Such is a strategic question in the scene that enhances the humor. An audience readily notices Faulkner’s humor in the plot as he distances himself from both the conflicts and the characters in the plot of the novel but positions humor strategically by adopting a sarcastic narration technique to tell the story. The neighbors deal with the smell sarcastically as some four men sneak around Emily’s house to pour lie in their attempt to contain the smell. The narrator in the story recounts the events humorously thereby portraying Faulkner’s unique humor in an otherwise morbid plot.
The same is the case with the other novels in which Faulkner distances himself from the plot of the stories by placing a strategic narrator who in turn recounts the events in the plot sarcastically thereby achieving the humor the plot desires. Sarcasm is one of his main strategies for achieving humor as discussed above. Additionally, Faulkner varies the tone of the plot of is works. By doing this, the author provides his audience with a humorous experience of the plot and setting in his novels. Faulkner achieves the tonal variation in the A Rose for Emily by using verbal irony, which is a vital literary technique he uses in the other two works as well. By contradicting the various characters strategically, Faulkner does not only enhance the conflict in the story but also infuse a sense of humor to the plot of the novels.
In That Evening Sun, Faulkner develops an equally satirical conflict between the numerous characters thereby enhancing the humor in the plot. Nancy is so fearful that he cannot care for the children. When the father of the children comes to take them, he does so without caring for Nancy who fears that Jesus is likely to come out of the darkness of the night. As the children walk home with their father, the joke about Nancy’s fear. Such is an effective way of achieving humor in a novel without adopting a humorous plot.
In retrospect, William Cuthbert Faulkner is an established and professional novelist who understands the strategic use of language in developing plots he portrays his experience and professionalism in the three stories above in which he achieves humor even in gloomy plots. The author uses strategic features of the novel such as the settings and the characters both of which he positions strategically in order to enhance the humorous plots of the story.
Work cited: Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. New York: Poultry press, 1930. Print.