23rd March 2016
RE: Exclusion of ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ from the new edition of the Norton Anthology of Literature
I wish to share my disappointment regarding the exclusion of ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ from the new edition of your journal. First, I am a literature student at the local campus as well as a fervent literature enthusiast. My educational experience in literature as well as pursuing it as a hobby during my free time has exposed me to several literary geniuses such as Edgar Allen Poe. I have read almost every literary piece by Edgar Allan Poe and re-read some of them. I am always left in awe after finishing a piece of his work.
It therefore comes as a surprise that your journal will not be including one of his greatest masterpieces and my personal favorite, ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ in your its upcoming new edition. It is even further appalling that you would select ‘A Rose for Emily’ by Faulkner to be included in the edition when it is absolutely clear that this latter short story is not at the same level of greatness with Poe’s work.
Poe is certainly the best literary artist in the world. Poe’s story is more important because essentially it is a better short story than Faulkner’s tale. Future students will be able to master the art of writing a short story from analyzing ‘The Cask of Amontillado’. His story is short and can be read within a sitting. Furthermore, every sentence contributes to the total effect making it a unified piece of work. The story is also full of great ironies unlike in Faulkner’s story.
In both stories, death is imminent and is the overwhelming theme. Both stories are tales of horror that end in tragic deaths. Montresor, the main character in Poe’s story kills because he has been insulted while Emily, the main character in Faulkner’s story, kills because of her jilted affections. Poe’s story is more chilling and ultimately more entertaining than Faulkner’s story.
In ‘The Cask of Amontillado’, the writer implies foul play from the start of the story with vivid images that help the reader understand how horrific the situation really is. However, in Faulkner’s short story, the reader only gets to know the true character of the main antagonist at the end of the story. Poe’s story seems to build the reader’s expectations from the very beginning while Faulkner’s story surprises the reader at the very end possibly confusing him. Furthermore, the reader is called upon to investigate the motive of Montresor in Poe’s work while the murderer and motive are handed to the reader on a platter in Faulkner’s work. There is a lack of intense mystery and suspense in the latter work.
Poe’s work has more symbols than there are in Faulkner’s tale, pointing to a more complex, and intricate story by Poe. Poe uses several symbols in his work including Fortunato himself as well as a lot of irony. He also uses foreshadowing to build suspense for the story. Literally, every sentence in the short story has a literary effect. On the other hand, Faulkner only uses a few symbols in his story.
The main symbols in Faulkner’s story include Emily’s house and the strand of grey hair found beside the skeleton of Homer. Emily’s house symbolizes the death of Southern aristocracy with its scrolled balconies, spires, and cupolas as features of a style of architecture that was fast becoming obsolete. The house also represents mental decay, illness, alienation, and death. The strand of grey hair is a symbol of the love that was lost as well as a reminder of the perverse things people will do in order to achieve happiness.
In conclusion, Poe’s story is better in comparison to Faulkner’s mainly because of appropriate character development, theme twists, plot development, and literary techniques. I am not trying to imply that Faulkner was not a formidable writer, but given the choice between the two, the obvious option should be Poe. I hope you reconsider your decision on excluding the short story.