Powerful External Influence Has Stifled Women 's Desires Throughout American Literature

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Powerful external influence has stifled women’s desires throughout American literature. This denial of possessing a much wanted love creates a passion that outlasts all but death. Both Katherine Porter’s Ellen Weatherall in “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” and William Faulkner’s Emily Grierson in “A Rose for Emily” experience this longing for something more. Subject to the trappings of their surroundings, Emily and Ellen’s love affairs permanently affect the women but ultimately allow them to achieve total control of their lives. Small community settings in both “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” and “A Rose for Emily” enable the townspeople to concern themselves with the personal affairs of others. After George leaves Ellen Weatherall, she feels the only way to avoid becoming subject to town gossip is to find another man to marry. After all, she thinks, “What does a woman do when she has put on the white veil and set out the white cake for a man and he doesn’t come?” (233). Instead of allowing people to feel sorry for her, Ellen carries on with her life and finds another man to love, John. Although she is still in love with George, she settles for this man and this marriage to avoid becoming a pitiful spinster. Emily Grierson, however, tries to ignore the town’s bias against Homer. At first the community is in disbelief, feeling that a Grierson could not possibly marry a Northerner of modest means (248). She is seen as a disgrace for behaving dishonorably

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