Faulkner and Hemingway are two prominent American writers marked with the ability to write captivating and thought-provoking novellas. “A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” by Hemingway are vivid examples of the creative writing of the authors. This essay aims to compare and contrast the figurative speech of the two stories in light of the relationships that existed between the two writers. Although it is obvious that Faulkner and Hemingway were both popular with the readers due to their writing styles, it is reasonable to admit that the stylistic and lexical levels in “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” are noticeably different.
The Imagery in the Novellas by W.Faulkner and E.Hemingway
In the context of competitive advantage that marked Faulkner and Hemingway’s writings, it is necessary to point out that these particular representatives of American literature criticized each other on the grounds of discordance in their views concerning the ways of operating words. A great deal of debate was dedicated to their attitude toward writing. However, the most common idea that sheds light on peculiarities of their writing styles is the assumption that Hemingway did not really pay attention to creating a lexical impression on the reader as he was inclined to bring into focus a particular emotion. In contrast, Faulkner mostly paid attention to style and wording (Fruscione, 2012). This idea may be supported by the following comparison of figurative speech in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.
Both novellas tend to preserve tangible links between romantic and gothic traditions. In this context, one may assume that Faulkner’s story combines the image of a mysterious woman and her property with the image of a rose that does not tend to be the part of the story at all. Hemingway, in his turn, brings into focus the notion of death relating it to descriptions of nature and recollections of the main character (Kupke, 2014). It seems that in “A Rose for Emily”, Faulkner calls the reader’s attention to the way how he describes certain things, while in Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” the role of emotions prevails.
Figures of speech in “A Rose for Emily” mostly tend to reflect the gothic image of a woman and her surroundings. While describing the appearance of Emily Grierson, the author draws the reader’s attention to her figure: “we would see her in one of the downstairs-windows […] like a carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which.” The above-mentioned simile describing Emily’s figure may be supplemented by a description of her eyes: “Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal […]”. At the level of everyday speech, as it is represented in “A Rose for Emily” when the main hero buys poison, Faulkner uses hyperbole: “They’ll kill up anything to an elephant.”
To show the nature and psychological state of the hero, Hemingway resorts the literary device of an oxymoron. To the question of whether he wants some more broth, the hero responds that it is “awfully good.” This particular stylistic device shows the ambiguous nature of the response and the feelings of the main character. Hemingway ends the story with a striking hyperbole that seems to be very effective in the context: “Outside the tent, the hyena made the same strange noise that had awakened her. But she did not hear him for the beating of her heart.” It is not possible to believe that the heart beating may muffle the sound of a hyena. Thus, the main purpose of using this particular figure of speech can be explained by Hemingway’s intention to show strong emotion that engulfs the woman when she comes to realize that her husband is dead.
Notably, in his stories, Faulkner presents romantic oxymoronic characters that embody classical and romantic views on the matters of life. Thus, one may assume that Emily Grierson embodies classical and romantic ideals that are so peculiar to Faulkner’s creative writing. The most vivid confirmation arises from Emily’s fanatic attitude to love and eternity. By means of dust imagery, the author creates an interesting concept of love immortality as well as the immortality of the people’s actions in general. Therefore, the romantic representation of the characters involves their perception of certain ideas and traditions about life.
It is reasonable to assume that the functions of stylistic devices used by the authors are entirely different. While Faulkner puts an emphasis on the direct importance of apt phrases in the context, Hemingway’s writing is unpredictable. It can be explained by Hemingway using such stylistic devices as metaphors that manifest themselves in the uniqueness of underlying thoughts “Love is a dunghill,” “I’d like to destroy you a few times in bed.”
In order to compare the figures of speech in the two novellas, it is reasonable to shed light on the ways of representing the concept of death. Interestingly, the similarity between “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” can be considered through the presence of this particular concept. However, it manifests itself differently in the texts of Faulkner and Hemingway as the writers use different figures of speech. Hemingway uses personification of death in the following lines: “He lay still and death was not there. It must have gone around another street. It went in pairs, on bicycles, and moved absolutely silently on the pavements.” William Faulkner directly refers to death presenting a terrible picture at the end of the story. In addition, he masterfully describes the idea of death by applying the metaphor to the context: “But now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him”. The notion of ‘the long sleep’ is used rather euphemistically by the author. One may reach the conclusion that both stories present the concept of death differently. While Hemingway personifies it, Faulkner seems to reflect death in another context.
In addition, it is reasonable to mention the two striking symbols displayed in the novellas. In “A Rose for Emily”, the reader may find the symbol of dust as the most evident since dust enriches the image of the house and gives background for the theme of the importance of past events. Aubrey (2012), draws attention to the implementation of dust imagery in the story: “The manner in which dust covers the objects (and people) in Emily’s archaic home represents the obscuring of past events” (p. 5). While Faulkner’s interpretation of dust is rather gothic in nature, Hemingway sheds light on the symbol of snow and the mountains of Kilimanjaro that is a mixture of both gothic and romantic traditions. With the help of the symbol of snows of Kilimanjaro, the author underlies that the personified death is near. The mountains serve as the representation of a place that is near to the skies.
In conclusion, Faulkner and Hemingway in their stories “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” respectively, use the same figures of speech though in different contexts applying distinctive features to their meaning and function. It is worth mentioning that Faulkner’s representation of reality is more lexical-oriented, while Hemingway’s imagery has an emotional background. Both authors use personifications, metaphors, similes, etc. in order to make their novellas saturated with hidden and direct meanings. The above-mentioned figures of speech and concepts show differences and similarities in Faulkner and Hemingway’s creative writing. As the functions of imagery in the two novellas are different, there is no doubt in the assumption that the figures of speech used by the authors are marked with differences as well.