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A Good Man Is Hard To Find And A Rose For Emily

1154 words - 5 pages

Southern literature, specifically southern Gothic literature, is distinct with its perceptions and observations on the American South. Death, mental illness, and oppression are just some of the common themes found in Southern Gothic literature, making it quite different from other American literary texts. Two celebrated authors, Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner, put the themes of the Gothic South to great use. Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find, which tells about the quietus of a Southern family at the hands of a killer, and William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, an elderly woman found to have her lover’s body rotting in the bedroom, are both commendable examples and show the ...view middle of the document...

” This displays her passé mentality and ties to the old south generations.
A Rose for Emily shares the same theme of old southern prospects. Being born into a wealthy family, Emily has always felt entitled because of her family and her wealth. She also felt that it was the town’s responsibility to take care of her. “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (Faulkner 516). An example would be her resistance to paying taxes. She feels that since she has put her time into the community, she doesn’t have to pay. What she doesn’t realize is that the community has changed and her position of worth isn’t the same. The old South has been replaced with a new South, and either she doesn’t know about the change, or she won’t accept it.
Another feature that is found in these stories is the use of southern archetypes. In A Good Man Is Hard to Find, the grandmother represents the average elderly woman living in southern America. She talks about how people used to respect each other, she worries about manners and even dresses like an old southern belle for a car ride. “Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (O’Connor 423). This quote is a perfect example of the classic southern woman living in the American south. In A Rose for Emily, Emily is also an archetype for the old south and its perspectives. She represents the uncultured and sheltered people of the south. She lives with the feeling of entitlement because of her wealth and her service to the community. She also doesn’t accept change and rejection, like most elderly women living in the south. Both O’Connor and Faulkner use these older women to challenge the culture and belief system of old south.
There is one character that stands out in A Good Man Is Hard to Find called the “The Misfit.” This character that O’Connor created goes against the grandmother, or the southern archetype. O’Connor uses “The Misfit” as a voice of opposition and reality that the south...

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