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    Facing the elements: comparing stories from the Norton anthology Essay

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    Because of Fortunato’s greed, and his need to be thought of as the best at what he does, he is lured to his death, thereby making him look like the fool he is dressed as. Montressor also has a trowel, a symbol of the Freemasons, which Fortunato scoffs at, “‘You jest, ‘ he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces”(Poe, 73), without realizing he has just be shown the tool of his death, “with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche”(73). This niche is Fortunato’s “Amontillado”, he was coxed down to it, and there he will die.

    The symbolism in “The Use of Force” was cleverly hidden, so much so that it is difficult to reinforce it. The use of the “smooth-handled spoon”(Williams, 486) could be symbolic of a penis, which reinforces the rape theme in “The Use of Force”. Both stories use an item of everyday use as the instrument of torture, a trowel and a spoon, two very unlikely choices to be used for a violent act. Montressor tells his tale of revenge a “half a century”(Poe, 74) after the murderous Ferguson 3 undertaking.

    By telling the story from Montressor’s limited point of view, we are given a chance to look through the eyes, and wander through the mind of an unpunished murderer. Telling the story from another point of view, such as Fortunato’s would not to do the story justice. If it were written from the view of Fortunato, we would never have learned of the plot to murder him, and the trowel would have just been a trowel, until the first brick was laid. The story also would have ended at the last brick, or possibly the last breath, certainly not fifty years in the future. The point of view is that of the doctor in the first person in “The Use of Force”.

    The story focuses on the concern that this doctor and the parents of a sick young girl have for the girl’s chance of a having contracted the deadly disease, diphtheria. The doctor sees the girl as uncooperative, and difficult, but he also notices that the horror this little girl is experiencing, is real, as “she shrieked terrifyingly” and fought with “clenched teeth, desperately! “(485). Her panic is impressed upon us, but still only from the perspective of the attending doctor. The story would have had a different ending had the point of view been from that of the little girl.

    If it were being told fifty years after the incident, as is done with the narrative of “The Cask of Amontillado”, there may possibly have been a court case involved in the story. The open-ended conclusion of “The Use of Force” leaves a feeling of revulsion for the doctor and parents, sympathy for the poor little girl, and a story that ends with no satisfying conclusion. Although the “The Cask of Amontillado”, is a close ended story, it does leave the reader asking a few questions, such as “Is Montressor sitting in a police station confessing to the heinous crime he committed?

    ” or “Is he on his deathbed making a confession to ease the guilt on his dying heart? ” I thoroughly enjoyed both stories, and Ferguson 4 choosing one to be better than the other would be a difficult task, both stories deal with the dark side of human nature, a theme that has always intrigued me. Combining the elements of symbol, theme and point of view has had the effect of creating two different, but equally entertaining, tales of the depth that a person will reach to get what is desired.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Facing the elements: comparing stories from the Norton anthology Essay. (2018, Jan 08). Retrieved from

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