Example research essay topic: Aspects Of Characterization – 1,502 words

The use of literary devices such as diction and
symbolism are crucial elements in establishing
characterization. The diction, writers choice of
words, much be appropriate for the characters and
the situations in which the author places them
(Meyer 234). Therefore, William Faulkners diction
in A Rose for Emily will differ greatly from
Ernest Hemingways Soldiers Home. Hemingway uses
the Krebs family home and Faulker uses the element
of time as symbols. The home and the element of
time are symbolic because each has meanings that
go beyond its specific qualities and functions
(Meyer 194). Setting also plays a major role in

Setting is the context in which
the action of a story occurs (Meyer 137). If one
is sensitive to the contexts provided by setting,
one is better able to understand the behavior of
the characters and the significance of their
actions (Meyer 137). In order to understand Miss
Emily it would be useless to place her in the same
setting as Krebs and vice versa. Different words
evoke different associations in a readers mind,
diction is crucial in controlling a readers
response (Meyer 234). Faulkners choice of words
allows the readers to vividly picture Miss Emilys
physical traits as well as her attitude. By
describing the Grierson house, Faulkner is
cleverly inviting an observation of Miss Emily.

was a big, squarish frame house that had once been
white, decorated with cupolas and spires and
scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style
of the seventies, set on what had once been our
most select street. But garages and cotton gins
had encroached and obliterated even the august
names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emilys house
was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish
decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline
pumps – an eyesore among eyesores. (Meyer 71) Miss
Emily was a woman that kept to herself. She lived
in a time when socializing with the other women
and being married at a certain age was necessary.
Miss Emily somehow managed to stray away from the
norm. Faulkner shows Miss Emilys reclusion through
the sparse use of dialogue between Miss Emily and
other people. Krebs like Miss Emily was going
through a period of seclusion.

They were
experiencing these feelings for different reasons.
Hemingway avoided the usage of elaborate and
dramatic diction. The words are basic and allows
the reader to get into Krebs mind. The reader is
able to listen not only to what Krebs thinks but
to how he thinks (Meyer 235). He tried so to keep
his life from being complicated. Still, none of it
has touched him. He had felt sorry for his mother
and she had made him lie.

He would go to Kansas
City and get a job and she would feel all right
about it. There would be one more scene maybe
before he got away. He would not go down to his
fathers office. He would miss that one. He wanted
his life to go smoothly. It had just gotten going
that way.

Well, that was all over now, anyway. He
would go over to the school yard and watch Helen
play indoor baseball. (Meyer 144) The majority of
the sentences begin with the word He. Hemingways
choice of diction reflects Krebs firm
determination to make, one step at a time, a
clean, unobstructed break from his family and the
entangling complications they would impose on him
(Meyer 235). Through the effective use of diction
it is easy to gain insight into Miss Emily and A
symbol is a vehicle for two things at once: It
functions as itself, and it implies meanings
beyond itself (Meyer 635). Faulkner and Hemingway
use literary symbols that have a significant
impact on their characters overall attitudes.

literary symbol can include traditional,
conventional, or public meanings, but it may also
be established internally by the total context of
the work in which it appears (Meyer 194).
Hemingway strayed away from the conventional
meaning of home. Krebs did not find comfort,
happiness, peace, or safety in his familys home.
Krebs home becomes symbolic of provincial,
erroneous presuppositions compounded by blind
innocence, sentimentality, and smug middle-class
respectability (Meyer 194). After returning home
from war, Krebs was not in the position to share
the same view of the world as his family and
friends. He was used to being in an environment
where it was only the strong survive. Their
notions of love, the value of a respectable job,
and a belief in God seem to him petty,
complicated, and meaningless (Meyer 194). Krebs
finds it impossible to fit in where he left off.
His interactions show that home does not mean the
same to him as it does to others in his town.

Emily never tried to keep up with her changing
community. Therefore, time plays a major role as a
symbol in Faulkners short story. Miss Emily was a
stubborn old woman set in her ways who was content
in living in her eyesore among eyesores. Her home
was out of place because she never updated the
outside nor the inside. Time not only played a
role in the appearance of her home, but also in
some of her actions. She never married at the
appropriate age.

She went through the majority, if
not all, of her life single. During her time those
actions were unheard. Time can also be related to
the decaying bodies in her home. Miss Emilys
attitude and actions did not change with time. She
continued to live the same lifestyle until her
death. Symbols offer a chance to look deeply into
the character and explore their lives.

The major
elements of setting are the time, place, and
social environment that frame the characters
(Meyer 137). Miss Emily was regarded as a fallen
monument, as old-fashioned and peculiar as the
stubborn and coquettish decay of her house (Meyer
138). Neither she nor her house fits into the
modern changes that are paving and transforming
the town (Meyer 138). The social environment is
relevant to the overall purpose of the story and
the character development. The changes in Miss
Emilys southern town serve as a foil for her
tenacious hold on a lost past (Meyer 138). Miss
Emily did not want to change with the southern

She was constantly struggling to keep hold
of her past even though others questioned her
actions. The setting enlarges the meaning of Miss
Emilys actions (Meyer 138). The social context is
important because it explores the conflicts
Faulkner associated with the changing South (Meyer
138). Krebs experiences two settings throughout
the story. His life pretty much starts off as
frivolous as he finds his town to be when he
returns from war. Hemingway places him in a home
that has rules and expectations.

This home also
expects him to be the same as he was before he
left for the war. They do not seem to appreciate
or be sympathetic to everything he experienced
when he was away. His mother and others pushing
him into things that he obviously is not ready to
do, only push him into a deeper state of solitude.
This town is expecting too much from Krebs which
shows their lack of concern for what could be a
potentially dangerous situation. By placing Krebs
in this environment allows the reader to feel the
detachment that Krebs feels. Characters are
essential to a story and without them A Rose for
Emily would be little more than a faded history of
a sleepy town in the South (Meyer 94). Hemingway
and Faulkner gave the illusion that Miss Emily and
Krebs were real people.

Through diction it was
easy to visualize these characters interactions
with others. Krebs and Miss Emily were both
characters who rarely spoke to others. Diction
also allowed Miss Emily to be compared with her
home. Simple diction showed that Krebs was a
simple character who was experiencing shell shock.
Symbolism expressed by Hemingway opened up a
meaning to the title of the story. Krebs home was
uninviting and did not represent the typical home.
He felt that it was cold and dead. Cold and dead
being words that are often associated with a

His home pushed him further than the war
physically had him. Time was a major symbol in A
Rose for Emily. Miss Emily refused to conform and
change with time. Without a setting the characters
would not have a place to act. The changes of the
Southern town caused problems for Miss Emily. Her
character would not have been interesting in any
other setting.

She had to battle the thoughts and
opinions of the changing Southerners. Krebs
setting is pulling him and trying to force him
back in place. After evaluating the authors
diction, use of symbolism, and setting in the
short stories it is easier to define Miss Emily
and Krebs character type. Miss Emily and Krebs are
round characters. They display inconsistencies and
internal conflicts found in most real people
(Meyer 1586). These characters are fully
developed, and therefore harder to Bibliography:
Meyer, Michael.

The Compact Bedford Introduction
to Literature. 5th ed. Bedford/St. Martins. 2000.

Research essay sample on Aspects Of Characterization