The presence of a universal characteristic in literary works also means that there are also texts that provide scenarios, feelings, thoughts, or experiences that are unique and not experienced by the majority.
In this paper, a comparison of two short stories is provided as an illustration of Johnson’s point in elucidating the meaning of "just representations of general nature. The literary texts included in the comparative analysis are "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner and "Luck" by Mark Twain. The choice for these texts is motivated mainly by the ‘level of representativeness of each.’ That is, Faulkner’s short story is identified as more universal in its theme, while Twain’s equally entertaining short story differs from Faulkner’s because of its unique quality.
The discussion and analysis posits, then, that "A Rose" is an example of a literary work that possesses the "representativeness" quality that Johnson talks about because of its utilization of society’s hostility of an individual because Emily chose to deviate from the norms of her community. Meanwhile, Twain’s "Luck" lacks the universality that Faulkner’s work has because luck is an uncommon phenomenon, not universally experienced by people throughout their life, as opposed to what was illustrated in the life of the story’s primary subject, Lt. Gen. Arthur Scoresby.
Emily Grierson is depicted as a social outcast in the community that she lived in, setting the mood early on in Faulkner’s short story. The relationship between the community and Emily was one that bordered between hostility and indifference: while most of the people in the community had considered Emily as an individual who lived in the past (i.e., trying to live the affluent life that she had when she was young), and thus they became indifferent, even uninterested, in her, there were some members of the community who reveled on the fact that there lived a woman in their place that does not ‘fit’ the image of a ‘pleasant’ community member. This relationship is effectively illustrated by the narrator’s description of people’s behavior during her funeral: "our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity"
The fact that Emily managed to survive on her own and with the help of her servant, Tobe, is not the only mystery that intrigued her community. Despite her denial to admit that she lives in poverty at the time of her death, another mystery that remained was the fate of Emily’s relationship with Homer Barron, her supposed fianc who had suddenly disappeared from the community and Emily’s life. Emily’s deviant behavior was indeed confirmed when it was revealed later in the story that she was both poor and a murderer, having killed Homer when he denied her of her love for him. Though deviant in nature, the community’s treatment of Emily as a deviant is a universal experience among us. At some point in our lives, we had experienced fair or unfair persecution by our society and community, and Faulkner’s effective and sensitive portrayal of this theme through Emily and her community makes the short story truly representative of humanity’s behavior and nature.
The reason for "Luck"’s lack of representativeness or universality to humanity’s general experience in life is because the story focused on the phenomenon of luck, which is not only uncommon, but an unpopular phenomenon in a human society that is currently dominated by the ideology of rationality, logic, and science. Embodied by the character of Scoresby, luck