Essay on William Faulkner ‘s A Rose For Emily, And Andrew Marvel

“I don ‘t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer.” This unambiguous quote, stated by actor and comedian, Woody Allen, can open a world full of questions, especially after reading two particular pieces of literature. William Faulkner, the author of “A Rose for Emily,” and Andrew Marvel, the author of “To His Coy Mistress,” have both composed works of seduction, and although the similarities between these two storylines are striking, their dialogues and approaches completely differ. They both illustrate a similar situation where both characters, Miss Emily and the unnamed narrator, crave for sexual intimacy. After reading the two texts, many questions arise. How does one sexually appeal to a corpse? Will a person literally do everything it takes to persuade someone to engage in sexual activities with him or her? Though both questions are peculiar and can be answered in many different ways, the two separate speakers fruitfully pieced the two together. The strategies that the narrators use, such as persuasion and reclusiveness, are significant because they both succeed in their arguments. The two writings clearly portray similar ideas of seduction and fetishizing, but they address the topic from different aspects; furthermore, both authors successfully show their audience that indulging in sexual activities is the solution to their weird fantasies to the point where it defies imagination.

The strategic use of language in Marvel’s “To His Coy Mistress” emphasizes the speaker’s approach to sex (and death). This engaging tactic explores the question of how far a person will go to fulfill their sexual desires. In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker proclaims to his mistress, “An age at least to every part, and the last …

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…o that he can be with him forever, while the speaker in “To His Coy Mistress” contrasts from that because he makes it seem like all he needs is a short period with his mistress while they are young. Marvell cautiously and very wisely develops an argument whereas his speaker tries (and succeeds) everything in his power to convince his mistress to submit unto him, while Faulkner presents his speaker as willing to literally kill to get what she wants. It is obvious that one character is more strong-willed than the other is, and it is quite easy to determine which approach is more persuasive to their lover; however, both speakers have their own unique aspects when it comes to the sexual category. Beyond any doubt, although the authors’ writing styles do not complement each other, they both have found common ground about the real definition of “I’ll do whatever it takes.”

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