Author Archives: Yarlin


Vigil- An event or a period of time when a person or group stays in a place and quietly waits, prays, etc., especially at night

“The honor of his art forbade it. Naturally, none of the watchers understood that. Sometimes there were nightly groups of watchers who carried out their vigil very laxly, deliberately sitting together in a distant corner and putting all their attention into playing cards there, clearly intending to allow the hunger artist a small refreshment, which, according to their way of thinking, he could get from some secret supplies.” -The Hunger Artist

In this situation a group of people come by and fail to understand why the hunger artist is the way he is, trying to spare some refreshments and attention. The word perfectly describes this scenario as watchers look on to the artist, despite the signals given that means that their actions are unwelcomed.


Fatuity- Something foolish or stupid

“Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes—a kind of “debased Romanesque” with delirium tremens—go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity.” -The Yellow Wallpaper

Much of this story goes into detail describing the environment, many of these descriptions being heavily opinionated based on the context. There is an immense obsession over the wallpaper, thoughts going back and forth over it’s design. Fatuity in this case is being used to describe how strange, even nonsensical the wallpapers design is.


Tableau- A graphic depiction or representation

“None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.” -A Rose for Emily

The word falls in line with the dark themes found in the story through the use of negative descriptions and imagery. The story describes Emily’s character in detail based on an outsiders view, allowing the reader to see what the narrators say. The tone is set thanks to this information that is learned, hence why the word lends itself so nicely with this passage.


Exalted (verb)- to raise in rank, power, or character

“She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. ” –The Story of an Hour

The word was used in order to describe how Mrs. Mallard’s feelings were essentially enhanced at the moment. A sudden jump in her happiness is expressed at the very moment when she learns that her husband is dead, though also comes to an understanding that it is still a serious circumstance she would be stuck in.

Southern Gothic writing in “A Rose for Emily”

What does gothic mean?  What is Southern Gothic, specifically? Wikipedia might be a good place to get a definition and explanation of what Southern Gothic is. How is “A Rose for Emily” an example of this? You might add that as your vocabulary word as well.

There are many genres that cover different writing styles throughout the history of literature. These genres help with identifying the themes and context of literature, which can be found in William Faulkners “A Rose for Emily”. One example of this is Southern Gothic.

Southern Gothic is known to be a subgenre of Gothic literature containing dark themes. The subgenre was common during the early 19th century and much of it stems from views and events of the American South. It covered controversial and grotesque characters, often known for its dark humor and ironic writing. These fictional stories are made from the inspiration of the Souths past of slavery, decay, and societal issues. William Faulkner is well known for writing in this subgenre and this story shows elements of it.

In the story itself, we learn about Emily from an outsiders perspective, us readers being fed information only from those who seem to know her. Within the story, rumors are spread based on the actions she takes.

“So THE NEXT day we all said, ‘She will kill herself’; and we said it would be the best thing. When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, ‘She will marry him.'”

There are expectations for her to commit suicide, believing that it would be the best. This is one of the central themes as the story starts with Emily’s death, and further along the reader learns about how the death of her father affects her mentally. As she ages, her mental state becomes more unstable and she hides away from the eyes of society. The story fits in with the subgenre as it relates to the decaying home Emily lives in along with a transformation that leads to the worst. Her life shows a twisted form of reality, ending with her corpse being found in her bedroom.


“The Baba Yaga”-Cinderella Story

The story that I chose to read was “The Baba Yaga”, a Russian Cinderella story written by Aleksandr Afanasyev. While reading this story I realized that I have actually read it before in a children’s book years ago. Never knew this could fall under the category of a Cinderella story. Now that I read this story through the lens as such, I can see the similarities despite the many differences. First things first are the roles of the characters which are very familiar: the main heroine, father, stepmother, and the fairy godmother (though in the context of this story it’s the aunt).

The father is alive and present, while the stepmother still serves a role of an antagonistic character but not the prime one. The aunt supports the young protagonist by giving items and advice to ensure her survival. The surprising element of this story comes from the mention and introduction of the Baba Yaga, something unique and serves the primary role of a villain in this story. When Cinderella comes to mind, often the name leads to the thought of a story involving evil step-sisters and a ball. Instead, the young girl is at risk of being cooked and eaten by the Baba Yaga, having been sent to its hut by her evil stepmother. The main story beats are still the same though, as it still follows the tale of the main protagonist escaping from unfavorable conditions to a more safer and welcoming life.

What I find most interesting is the end of this story in which the father takes matters into his own hands. Finding out that his wife attempted to murder his own daughter, he decided to take the violent route and kill the evil stepmother. The story still ends happily with both father and daughter living peacefully in the forest. Different from marrying into royalty, but still considered to be a good ending in which the villains are punished for harming the main character.


Malign: (adjective) evil in nature, influence, or effect: injurious

“And then, my best idea came to me as I looked at my cup of cocoa. Like the prince trapped inside the body of a frog, that humble white cup, so maligned by the everyday, so misrepresented as a mere vessel, was a work of art waiting to occur.”

Word from Bia Lowe’s I Always Write About My Mother When I Start to Write

The use of the word was to show how neglected and mistreated the cup is. The only purpose of it being a container and nothing else, when in the narrators view it shows more potential and can be used for something else. From what I can understand, the purpose of this word is to express something or someone in a negative light.