o “Critic Frank A. Littler, in an essay published in Notes on Mississippi Writers regarding the chronology of the story, writes that ‘‘A Rose for Emily’’ has been read variously as ‘‘… a Gothic horror tale, a study in abnormal psychology, an allegory of the relations between North and South, a meditation on the nature of time, and a tragedy with Emily as a sort of tragic heroine.’’
o The Gothic horror tale is a literary form dating back to 1764…. Gothicism features an atmosphere of terror and dread: gloomy castles or mansions, sinister characters, and unexplained phenomena. Gothic novels and stories also often include unnatural combinations of sex and death…Faulkner himself claimed that ‘‘A Rose for Emily’’ is a ‘‘ghost story.’’ In fact, Faulkner is considered by many to be the progenitor of a sub-genre, the Southern gothic. The Southern gothic style combines the elements of classic Gothicism with particular Southern archetypes (the reclusive spinster, for example) and puts them in a Southern milieu. Faulkner's novels and stories about the South include dark, taboo subjects such as murder, suicide, and incest.”
Psychoanalytic Criticism and “A Rose for Emily”
o “It is Emily's awful deed that continues to captivate readers. Why would she do something so ghastly? How could she kill a man and bed his corpse? This line of questioning leads to a psychological examination of Emily's character. David Minter, in William Faulkner: His Life and Work, notes in several different passages the significant influence that Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychoanalysis, had on Faulkner's fiction. Freud theorized that repression, especially if it is sexual in nature, often results in psychological abnormality. In the story, Emily's overprotective, overbearing father denies her a normal relationship with the opposite sex by chasing away any potential mates. Because her father is the only man with whom she has had a close relationship, she denies his...