Gothic Literature: A Rose For Emily, The Tell Tale Heart, And Daddy

1095 words - 4 pages

In William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart,” and Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy”, are endowed with many features that contribute to their gothic form and success.
Faulkner’s,” A Rose for Emily” is characterized by a powerful imagery, plot and setting which are interwoven to create a gothic feeling. The story unfolds in Jefferson, the living fragments of a land that is plagued with civil war. Among the remains of Jefferson is Emily’s house which appears to be the summary of what has become of the wealthy and noble in Jefferson. The description of the house in itself creates a haunting atmosphere. The “stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps,” coupled with the “cemetery”, “cracked leather” and closed doors somehow foreshadows the willful decay of Emily’s physical and mental state. “…fat woman in black…leaning on an ebony cane with tarnished gold”. Emily is portrayed as a person who is merely living without any human attributes. “Her skeleton…submerged in motionless water water”, “dough” and “lost eyes” project a character that appears to have given up on life.
Moreover, the lack of chronology in the story creates a puzzle and leaves the reader wandering off into insignificant details when a dark secret is looming. The story opens with the death of Emily, then goes on to describe Emily’s house and other trivia issues about taxes. These events serve to set and keep the plot in motion despite lacking intrinsic significance to the mystery that unfolds afterwards. Emily’s purchase of arsenic, foreshadows an impending danger because not long afterwards, a stench spreads across her neighborhood. The tragedy surrounding the stench is however suppressed by the disorganized chronology.
Other symbolic elements also contribute to the gothic nature of the story. One observes a single gray hair besides Hommer’s corpse. At this point the reality of Emily’s deteriorated sense of judgment comes to bear. These and many other factors contribute to the gothic style theme in the story “A Rose for Emily”.

In Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” one is immediately confronted with an insane character whose unfolding confession creates an instant horror due to the fact that he appears oblivious to his mental state and in the process downplays the magnitude of his heinous action. Poe uses a psychological approach to gothic literature in this story. The story takes place at the home of the old man and more specifically in his bedroom. What an irony that his resting place at night becomes his resting place for eternity. Although the insane narrator provides scanty information about where the story takes place, we can deduce the events of the story is being uncovered in the old man’s room. The atmosphere is threatening and directly connects to the behavior of the mysterious narrator. “…closed …so that no light shone out”. The lacking details to the setting of the story enhances the mystery surrounding the narrator...

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