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Gothic Literature: A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner

1693 words - 7 pages

William Faulkner’s story “A Rose for Emily” is an example of gothic literature. Faulkner shows sadness for the love that is not returned and a drive that Emily uses to get what she wishes for. He has a gloomy and mysterious tone. One of the themes of the story is that people should let go of their past, move on with the present so that they can focus on welcoming their future. Emily was the evidence of a person who always lived in the shadow of her past, because she was afraid of changing for the future. She would not let go of the past throughout all her life, keeping everything she loved in the past with her.
Faulkner starts his story by showing the amount of respect that is shown at Emily’s funeral. It is said that the entire town attended this event, but also that some only showed up to see what the inside of her house looked like because no one had been inside in over ten years. “The men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant- a combined gardener and cook- had seen in at least ten years”(pg.542). He explains this to show the mysterious interest of Emily. By explaining the mystery in Emily, he carries a dark tone that mystifies the audience.
Faulkner then shifts the story toward explaining what Emily’s house had once looked like. It was a big grim house that was once white. “It was a big, squarish frame house that has once been white, decorated with cupolus and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies”(542). It was the only one left on the street and many believes that it was an abomination to the community. “set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left”(542). It is evident that Emily and her house are connected in a way. Emily’s family was once one of the most well known in the town because of the relationship the father had with Colonel Sartoris, but as she grew older the opinions of her social status changed along with her. Her father not only had great power within the community, he also had power over her as well. This authority is shown through the portrait that Faulkner painted in the story: “Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a straddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip”(545). Her father was very protective and controlling over her. He believed none of the young men in the town were good enough to court his daughter. She did not have relationships with anyone; because of this when her father died she clung on to his body for three days, telling everyone he was still alive, before they buried him. “ She told them that her father was not dead. She did this for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to...

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