A Rose for Emily

731 Words May 29th, 2015 3 Pages
the Gothic elements of “A Rose for Emily”

Gothic can be defined as “literature dealing with the strange, mysterious, and supernatural designed to invoke suspense and terror in the reader.” (Pickering, 2004, p. 1425) Gothic literature generally presents the same themes and motifs: love lost, hidden secrets, love and death hand in hand, beauty, youth, grotesque characters, macabre eroticism, etc. Gothic literature also explores taboo subjects such as murder, suicide and incest. “A Rose for Emily”, by William Faulkner, is representative of the Southern Gothic stories since the themes of love lost, death, and murder are present in it. There are many elements that hint at the Gothic nature of the story: Emily’s description, her house,
…show more content…
It is describe as being damp, large, empty, and full of corners to hide secrets. The house and Emily are depicted the same way they both are vestiges of the past. The inside of the house is also similar to her. Empty, dark, similar to the dry and cold voice of Emily. The use of terms such as “smelled of dust and disuse” and “a closed, dank smell” suggest neglect and decay. Each of these elements ties in with the surface layer, the Gothic setting. There is also something particular about the house: there is a horrible smell coming out of it. This odour adds the dark atmosphere around the house.

Furthermore, at one point in the story she buys poison. This episode enhances the fact that this story is Gothic. The use of such a dangerous substance in the story creates a feeling that something bad is going to happen. There is a reason why Emily wants to buy poison and the fact that she does not want to reveal why she needs it also demonstrates that something is not right. Her social status helps her not to give a reason why she wants poison to the druggist. At that point in the story, Emily’s purchase of arsenic leaves no doubt that the story is leading to dark events.

At last, the main element that makes the story Gothic is the ending. Emily’s secret is revealed; she has hidden her dead lover. She has murdered him to keep him with her and to keep an element of the past with her. Then, at the end of the story, when they discover the corpse in

More about A Rose for Emily

Open Document