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“Young Goodman Brown” and “A Rose for Emily”

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The short stories “Young Goodman Brown” and “A Rose for Emily” use a moral to show particular ideals or values through their characters choices and actions of one another. The reader is faced with a life lesson after reading “Young Goodman Brown:” you cannot judge other people. A similar moral is presented in “A Rose for Emily.” The use of morals combined with elements of Romantic era writing show the stories of to be descendants both of fables and of Romance literature. “Young Goodman Brown” tells the story of a young man who decides to league himself with the devil. Goodman Brown is a citizen of a typical town with its share of good people and not-so good people. Goodman Brown believed that he knew the people of the town fairly well. He knew Goody Cloyse, for example, to be “a very pious and exemplary dame, who had taught him his catechism in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual advisor, jointly with the minister and Deacon Gookin.” He knew Deacon Gookin was a strict man of the Church and was always “bound to some ordination or ecclesiastical council.”

However, in his travels through the woods with the old man, Goodman Brown notices Goody Cloyse progressing down the path. Just as he begins to have doubts about the woman”s place of heart, as she should not be in the woods at this time, he comes across Deacon Gookin in the woods as well. As they are supposedly fine, upstanding citizens of the village, Goodman Brown has to wonder why they are traveling through the woods on the same path that he is taking with the devil. Afterwards, he is astonished to see not only these two upstanding citizens at Satan”s ceremony, but almost everyone else in the town as well. It is through his assumption that his fellow townspeople were good that Goodman Brown learns the story”s most important lesson, you should not judge people at face value; anyone can pretend to be someone they aren’t , and his encountering of the devil”s ceremony emphasizes this fact. “A Rose for Emily” has a similar moral, only in this story, it is the townspeople who learn the lesson. Emily is a woman who goes against all beliefs of her society, she takes a lover, a Northerner no less, she does not marry him, and she even commits murder. As she goes through these events in her life, the townspeople make certain assumptions about what she is doing.

They assume that she has married Homer Barron, they assume that the arsenic she purchased is so that she can kill herself, and they constantly assume that she is “Poor Emily,” a woman who is ruled by her father and unable to make decisions for herself. “So the next day we all said, “She will kill herself;” and we said it would be the best thing. When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, “She will persuade him.” The townspeople continually judge Emily and make stories about her life without a basis in fact. The author himself acknowledged the connection between his title character and her environment, that is, her town and the townspeople around her.

The townspeople in the story learn that all that they assumed to be true about Emily was not true; proving the moral that judging people without truly knowing them can only lead to misunderstandings. Although these two stories have some very similar points and morals to them, they also have very many differences. Both the stories use different tones and types of languages, in “Young Goodman Brown” then language is very old and from a different age. However, in “A Rose for Emily” the language is more modern and has a southern slang to keep in touch with the setting of the story. And both the stories have different plots and characters. In “Young Goodman Brown” it was Goodman Brown who learned the lesson about the people. In “A Rose for Emily,” it was the people who learned a lesson about Emily. Both of these stories are classics and have great lessons to be learned.

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