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Discuss Two Characters that show Growth or Maturation in their Short Stories

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Discuss two characters that show growth or maturation in their short stories.

Character development often involves maturation of characters throughout a story. Sarty in “Barn Burning,” for instance, matures due to the impossible situation that he finds himself in. Sarty is only ten years old and at the beginning he exhibits incorruptibility and virtuousness taught to him by his mother. However, Sarty’s relationship with his father changes that. Sarty’s father is violent and unforgiving; his aggressive conduct influenced hero’s views on right and wrong. Like his father, Sarty grows violent and aggressive, and he starts seeing the world from a grown man’s perspective. Throughout the story Sarty adopts values of justice and impartiality; soon he grows up with a mature mind and he is capable of discerning right from wrong, just from unjust. Sarty’s gradual growth is also synonymous with his attempts to free himself from his father by refusing to be influenced by him. 

 Emily, in “A Rose for Emily,” also exhibits growth throughout the story. Although the change in Emily’s character could be hardly considered as positive as Sarty’s growth in “Barn Burning,” she still experiences growth from childishness to maturity when she finds means to live by herself. In the beginning of the story Emily is a lively and interesting character. However, because of her upbringing and the effect of a tragedy, she becomes a recluse who is determined to live her life guided by her own inclinations. Emily matures in the story because she is determined to follow her own path and become independent from the influence of the society.

Discuss two characters that are unsuccessful in their works.

While some characters grow and succeed in some stories, others fail in facing their own dilemmas. Oedipus in “Oedipus,” for instance, met a tragic end. At first, Oedipus’ life may be characterized as something that exudes success since he becomes the King of Thebes. Moreover, Oedipus is respected for his knowledge and skills, since his becoming King of Thebes was a result of his ability to answer Spinx’ difficult riddle. Oedipus’s success becomes the source of his pride. Despite the knowledge, however, he is criticized for being ignorant about his own destiny. Failing to realize his mistakes and the clues set before him, Oedipus unknowingly kills his own father and marries his own mother. After discovering what he has done to his parents, Oedipus blinds and exiles himself.

Emily in “A Rose for Emily” also failed at the end of the story. As previously discussed, Emily exhibits maturity because of her desire to live independently from other people. However, Emily’s approach in doing so does not help her in achieving her goals of independence. First of all, Emily is a recluse who refuses to interact with others. Because of Emily’s propensity to bizarre behavior and nonconformity, she raises alarms when she refuses to follow laws enacted by the authorities. Secondly, the story also hints at Emily’s behavior that may be influenced by a psychological disorder. Finally, Emily also shows lack of judgment by doing something against the law – killing Homer. She failed to prove that she wants to become independent when she decides to kill Homer because she does not want him to leave her.

Using two or more examples, show how critics are helpful and/or not so helpful in explaining literary works.

The objective of critics in analyzing or reviewing literary works is to provide readers with an objective view of literary pieces by highlighting various elements that would help them to make judgments and decisions about the literary works that they have already read or plan to read. Critics are helpful because they are knowledgeable about covering points and elements that readers may have missed. For instance, critics are skilled in identifying metaphors and symbolisms which may be unnoticed by an average reader. Thus, when critics point out deeper elements of literature, readers gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for them. Moreover, with critics’ help readers may decide whether a literary work suits their personal tastes and interests.

While some critics are capable of pointing out important elements of literary pieces and helping readers to make decisions, there are critics who fail to contribute to readers’ deeper understanding of literary works. It occurs when critics do not practice objectivity in critiquing literature. When critics’ approach to literature based on their personal views, their criticisms become subjective, and, as a result, readers view literature from their perspective, instead of understanding the perspective of the author and the context the work was built on. In this case, critics do not contribute to understanding of literature. 

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