Sample English Literary Analysis Paper on significance of Montressor and Fortunado’s clothing in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”

Discuss the significance of Montressor and Fortunado’s clothing in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”

Montressor and Fortunado attend a carnival season dressed in different clothes regarding color. In Amontillado’s cask, Fortunado is dressed in a colorful costume of a jester, and Montressor dons a black silk mask. Poe uses dress to symbolize different forms of justice in his work. Montressor represents retributive justice. He believes that an aggressor should also meet equal damage. The setting of this dress code is based on the prevailing relationship between these two characters. Montressor seeks revenge towards his abusive friend Fortunado. Montressor is a vengeful character, and he plans to execute his revenge mission secretively. He understands that his friend is fond of drinking wine. He uses wine as bait to get Fortunado out of the carnival season. He ends up killing his friend Fortunado who had insulted him. These events indicate the nature of retributive justice. The blackness of the mask represents the secretive nature of this form of justice. The mask signifies how the perpetrators of retributive justice will camouflage their actual intentions to people who are close to them.

On the other hand, Fortunado symbolizes a typical justice system that denotes fairness and humanity. He is dressed in a jester’s costume that is multicolored. A jester is a fool who entertains royal functions. The indication here is that Fortunado is attending the carnival season because he is seeking entertainment. He does not have any sinister motives, and he sees the festival as an ordinary human occasion. The multicolored feature of his dress code represents the different characteristics of n human beings. Considering that all the colors existed on a single cloth, it illustrated the level of tolerance that human beings should have against each other. Fortunado represents a faction that expects tolerance despite differences, such as being verbally offensive as he acted against his friend.

Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” music is a dominant motif. Discuss its significance.

Music serves as a significant aspect of the lives of various characters and events in the story. Oates uses music to reduce the gap between reality and the imaginary world. Connie is a character whose life rotates around music in the story. Connie has issues with her romantic life because there are issues that she does not understand. She is in a dilemma because people expect her to be mature enough to manage her love life. Connie finds solace in music, and it reduces specific gaps in her love life. Through listening to music, Connie is in a position to understand romance.  Music enables her to find happiness in boys through the romantic messages that she derives from the songs. She does not have any feelings towards the boys, but she wants to fulfill some of the messages she gets from listening to music.

In the story, Arnold shows up at her house, but she shows little attention to his arrival. In the story, She continues listening to music, and apparently, she is not aware that it is the same music coming from Arnold’s car. In the story, where are you going, where have you been? Connie comes back to her senses and finds herself thinking about Arnold.  The indication here is that music is a medium through which Connie achieves some level of romance. She does not value adult sexual enticement and finds music as the best tool to initiate such feelings. The music here represents some of the things that people use to evade reality. Human beings have different capacities and preferences, and this might affect their reaction to societal expectations. However, such individuals will find something to cling to behave in a usual manner.

Walker’s “Everyday Use”

Everyday Use is a short story that uses juxtaposition to highlight situations in a society that arise because of change. The author embraces the theme of education and presents the ramifications of education to an individual’s sensitivity to traditions. Mama, the narrator, missed out on her education because of the then prevailing apartheid conditions. She sacrifices and takes her daughter Dee to school. However, this education does not result in positive effects on the family of Mama. Instead, it creates division in the family. Dee comes back and decides to abandon the family name because she sees no value in abiding by her family’s lineage legacy. She disvalues some of the traditionally recognized possessions, such as a quilt. Although she wants them, she wants to turn them into souvenirs.

The author, through Mama’s narration, is questioning the significance of education to society. Education seems to be a tool that alienates a member from society. Dee’s education has placed her in conflicting situations with her family and her traditions. In a manner, this short story’s heading is a mockery of Dee’s impulsive behavior in society.  The author seems to indicate that existing traditions in society are meant for untimely events. It becomes difficult for one to determine when a particular communal treasure will become obsolete.

The author uses Dee’s sister to create a difference between traditional and formal education. Maggie went through societal education, and she conforms to the world that she comes from rather than the one that Dee has chosen. Maggie is obedient, and this contradicts Dee’s arrogant nature. The author’s decision to juxtapose these situations is meant to challenge the audience to make a personal decision between the two forms of education.





Works Cited

Oates, Joyce Carol. Where are you going, where have you been?. Rutgers University Press, 1994.

Poe, Edgar Allan. The cask of Amontillado. The Creative Company, 2008.

Walker, Alice. Everyday use. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2004.