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American Gothic and A Rose for Emily


            Louis Gross states, “The American gothic is concerned primarily with exploring personal identity through the roles of family and national history.” This definition of the subgenre describes the gothic described in “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner in an impeccable manner. The house's decline in appearance and beauty on the street was a prevalent link to the theme of the decline in Miss Emily's social status in her community. Her house being described as “white, decorated with cupolas and spires set on what had once been our most select street” (section 1), at the beginning of the story and then by the end of Miss Emily's life it was pictured as a run down, desolated and a “coquettish decay” ran as a parallel of Miss Emily herself. .
             Once being described as an angelic figure in white and by the end she was shown as a haggard women whose status and appearance had fallen down to that of a “fallen women” is very similar to the gothic downfall of the house. As the house lost its status on the street it was placed on, Miss Emily had a downfall in her social status through her community. Both were not taken care of and over time they lost their shine they once withheld. However the people of the community still continued to keep their interest in both the house and Miss Emily. Just like how they continued to wonder and be nosey about what Miss Emily is up to through her daily life, they also were interested in what was in the house she lived in that no one had visited and toured through before. When Miss Emily seeks out to go purchase rat poison from the druggist, no questions are asked by anyone. Her buying the poison provides an element of gothic foreshadowing the reader that something will go wrong in many ways. Her not being questioned links to the theme of the importance of social status and the idea of dignity. Her having a social class higher than others in the community let her get away without answering the druggist when she was questioned as to what she needs it for as it is a law to know.


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