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Beyond these two similarities the stories differ greatly. One of the most notable differences between the two stories is the tense with which they are written. Poe takes us into the mind of the main character using the first person. In this way we learn about the insults perpetrated against the main character along with the intimate reasoning he uses to justify his act of murder. On the contrary, Faulkner writes his story in the third-person omniscient voice and defines the main character through a myriad of supporting characters and dynamic imagery.
This use of tense functions well and reinforces the writers plot design. The two writers create very different environments in which the action takes place. Faulkner opens his short story setting up a gloomy, dark stage by describing a derelict Victorian home in a denigrated neighborhood. In the case of Poe’s short story the first clear description of the environment comes later in the story and describes the tunnels leading to the cask of Amontillado.
This cramped setting appears to reinforce the cramped space in which Fortunato is ultimately entombed.
These settings work well to create a mysterious and tense plot. Faulkner uses many characters in his story where Poe restricts himself to just two. In Faulkner’s story the protagonist is defined through the eyes of many characters thus creating an air of mystery that surrounds the main character, Miss Emily. Miss Emily is known only through the minds others. Conversely, Poe restricts his story to include only the aggressor and victim.
This minimal cast, combined with the first person tense, keeps the reader focused exactly where Poe intended.
This diverse use of characters adds greatly to the tension prevalent in these two dynamic stories. The creative use of tense, environment and characters make these two stories stand out. The first person tense takes you deep into the mind of a killer in one story and 2 in the other a portrait is painted by a diverse group of characters. Two very different settings reinforce an air of mystery. The dynamic use of these techniques makes these two short stories stand out as industry standards.
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