The people of Jefferson perceive that Emily and Homer have intimate relationship, believing that they both love each other. The irony here is that what was expected by the townspeople did not actually occur. First, Homer is depicted as a homosexual; the engineer admits that he likes men and drinks with the “younger men in the Elks’ Club” (Faulkner 705). In this episode, readers critically doubt about the feelings that Homer really has for Emily. And second, Emily kills the engineer through poising. After Homer’s return to Emily’s house, the townspeople never saw him again. Thus, the people of Mississippi are wrong about their perception towards the marriage of Emily and Homer. The irony in the story, however, goes beyond the supposedly engagement of Grierson and Barron. The irony is more striking in the sharp contrast between the townspeople’s deep concern for Emily and their sheer negligence to her personal well-being.The type of irony significantly utilized for the two stories is a situational irony. One cannot easily grasp the apparent irony in the story until he or she reads the whole piece of the narrative. In general, a reader essentially grapples the twist of the narrative at the end of the story. At the beginning of the story, one learns something about the nature of the character; but as the story unfolds, he or she begins to realize that the assumed expectation runs counter to the original and true meaning of the story’ theme. The story’s initial narration informs a reader that the characters in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and in “A Rose for Emily” are virtuous and conservative. The grandmother and Emily Grierson substantially share common character or attitude: these women highly value the historical and/or personal past. The grandmother cherishes the good old days -- e., children were more respectful to old folks (O’Connor 34) -- and Emily esteems the deeds of the olden time -- e., tax remittance served by Sartoris (Faulkner 700). At the end, though, the true characters of these two protagonists are subtly exposed with shocking revelation.Despite the similarity of the type of irony, the two stories considerably delivered their ironies in a different manner. First, the direction of the story’s attack is sharply different. For one thing, the irony in O’Connor’s story subtly criticizes its main protagonist, the grandmother; in Faulkner’s
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” This America. Eds. John D. Kern and Irwin Griggs. New
York: Macmillan, 1942. 699-708. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Ed.
Frederick Asals. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 1993. 31-51. Print.
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