Ernest Hemingway

Comparison and Contrast of “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “A Rose for Emily”

Lost Generation is a name that is referred to the group of writers, who came of age during World War I and subsequently were disappointed by its results and felt uncomfortable living in the alien postwar world. That is why a lot of writers and poets preferred to travel across the sea and enjoy the life in Europe among intellectuals. All these experiences reflected in the writings of the authors. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are both significant American authors that belong to the Lost Generation and have some similarities in their writings as well as differences. It can be seen vividly while comparing their stories “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.

A Rose for Emily Summary

From the very first sight, two stories have nothing in common and have no reason to be compared. But if to read them more thoroughly, the similarities can be found. First of all, both stories have a mixed sequence of events. If William Faulkner followed the correct order of the actions, “A Rose for Emily” should begin with the youth of Emily, followed by the death of her father, acquaintance with Homer Barron, his mysterious death, the death of Emily and her funeral, then the exposure of the reasons of the awful smell and the disappearance of Homer. But the writer has chosen the other sequence of events with the purpose to keep the intrigue up to the end of the story, in order to make a greater impact on the reader and for the sake of the transmission of thought. (Qun)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro Summary

Ernest Hemingway also decides to play with the structure of “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”. The short story bears a resemblance to a dialogue, as almost the whole plot develops around Harry and Helen. Almost from the very beginning, Hemingway gives the reader a hint that the main hero is the writer. That is why the story is full of lyrical digressions in a series of flashbacks. Harry recalls his travel to the mountains of Bulgaria, Paris, Constantinople and a lot of other places that imprinted in his memory. It helps the reader to change his focus from the long informative dialogues and fix the attention on these flashbacks that appear throughout the story unexpectedly and fall in like a snowy avalanche. That is why the reading of the story “requires integrating all of its fragments into a coherent narrative experience” (Harding).

Secondly, both stories contain a theme of love relations between a man and a woman. In “A Rose for Emily” it is a devoted and maniac love of Emily to Homer. She loved the man so strong that his death was not an obstacle: “The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him” (Faulkner). This kind of love is impressive and creepy at the same time and seems to be fully fictional and created to impress the reader. There is no much information about their love relations and can only guess, why the things ended in such a way and what caused Homer’s death.

On the contrary, in the story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” the relations between Harry and Helen seem to be more realistic and true to life. Through the conversations of the couple, Hemingway informs the reader about their travel to Africa for safari, the way Harry was injured and how Helen cares and worries about him. She tries to cheer him up and assures that the plane will come soon and take Harry to the hospital. But the man seems to be stressed and talks a little bit rude with Helen, however, he is not angry with him. Harry feels comfortable even while quarreling with his beloved: “They always picked the finest places to have the quarrels. And why had they always quarreled when he was feeling best?” (Hemingway)

Thirdly, both stories have a tragic end. Homer and Emily from the Faulkner’s story were found dead in their bed and Hemingway’s Harry died because of the gangrene in the tent on his cot. It should be mentioned that “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” have more differences rather than similarities. And firstly, it is noticeable in the types of narrations. Ernest Hemingway, as usual, prefers first-person narrations that make a lot of readers coincide the writer with the protagonist. William Faulkner has chosen third-person narration in “A Rose for Emily” theme that separates the narrator from the events that happen and makes a story fictional with the unexpected twist at the end.    

Secondly, it can be seen judging by the writing style of the author. Hemingway’s short story is written in the form of dialogues and contains a lot of slang and colloquial speech that makes it more realistic. Such a structure has an influence on the reader’s perception a lot and the change of speakers makes it difficult to understand everything and focus on the plot of the short story. William Faulkner decides to make his story more poetic with the help of a great variety of stylistic devices. He pays a lot of attention to the descriptions of the characters, settings, and events. The usage of epithets, metaphors, and imagery help the reader to penetrate into the story and feel, see, hear and smell everything the narrator feels. He manages to intrigue the reader from the very first page and keeps him on the edge of the seat until the very end, where the mystery is revealed.

To make a conclusion, the detailed analysis of the short stories “A Rose for Emily” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” helped to reveal the similarities and differences of them. It helped to prove that Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, despite belonging to the Lost Generation and living in the same period of time and being influenced by the same circumstances, have different writing styles. Hemingway’s prose seems to be more true to life and describes trivial, everyday events but with a great, deep sense. William Faulkner pays more attention to the stylistic devices that make his story fictional and aimed to astonish the reader.

Curry, Renée R. “Gender and Authorial Limitation in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.””. Mississippi Quarterly 47.3 (1994): 391-399. Print.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily pdf”. 40 Short Stories. Ed. Beverly Lawn. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.
Harding, Jennifer Riddle. “”He Had Never Written A Word Of That”: Regret And Counterfactuals In Hemingway’s “The Snows Of Kilimanjaro pdf”. The Hemingway Review 30.2 (2011): 21-35. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
Qun, Xie. ‘A Narratological Study And Analysis Of: The Concept Of Time In William Faulkner’S “A Rose For Emily”’. Advances in Language and Literary Studies 6.3 (2015): n. pag. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.