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A Rose For Emily Versus Psycho: Comparative Analysis

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In the short story, “A Rose for Emily” we read from a unique narration point of view method by William Faulkner. The story is about an eccentric women who is rejected by society for the fact that she lives in the past. The main character is Emily from a collective point of view from many sources in which it makes it an unreliable narrator who throughout the story the narrator only has a partial point of view which lets the reader know that the entire story is narrated by the townspeople. From the start Emily was well protected by her father. As time moved on and her father died everything changed for her. Emily aged and lost touch with reality and time. Little by little her age started to show. Years after her father passed away Emily falls in love with Homer Barron who is a day laborer. However, their relationship is cut short when Homer gets tired of her and intends to leave her. Therefore, in order to keep Homer by her side Emily kills him with a poison called arsenic and sleeps with his corpse for many years. It ends with the death of Emily and the mystery being uncovered of Homer’s corpse locked in a room. . The horror movie Psycho was filmed in the 1950’s and is about an abandoned motel and the motels owner Norman Bates which is played by Actor Anthony Perkins. Norman Bates, was suffering from a dissociative identity disorder in which the two identities that were Norman as his own recessive identity and his mother's main identity. He killed his own mother because she was trying to remarry. Due to the feeling of his guilt he 'brings back' his mother by imitating her and making decisions that his mother would make. Throughout the story many die due to the jealousy rage of his mother.

William Faulkner’s novel A Rose for Emily and Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film Psycho have many similarities such as the theme, symbols and characteristics

First, the novel A rose for Emily and the movie Psycho have some similarities in theme. Emily and Norman are isolated from other people other than their mother and father. They have a major conflict between the past and the changes that came along in the future. It is evident that the Emily lived haunted by her memories of the past living in her large empty house. Similarly to Emily, Norman explores the theme of human loneliness with insanity. In the Psycho film a young woman who is staying at the Bates Motel named Marion Crane asks Norman if he goes out with friends and Norman tells her that a boy’s best friend is his mother. It was obvious from that start that he was isolated from other people. Emily's isolation makes the townspeople more curious about her life. Therefore the narrator is represented as a viewpoint of the town. Unfortunately Emily started to be isolated by her father and the day he passed away she was left alone. The narrator stated, “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will ” (311). This meaning she wasted so many years making her father happy that she didn’t think about how the future would affect her when it came to love. Emily ends up in a big house lonely surrounded by memories from the past.

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Second, the novel and the movie show many symbols that have meaning to them. One symbol that is used in both sources are the character’s house. Emily’s house demonstrates her inner state. The house started as a clean beautiful home but decades later the house becomes dirty, smelly, old and dark. At the beginning of the story the narrator stated, “It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies” (Faulkner 308). Like Emily, she was kept young and decent away from men that wanted to date her. Then slowly she started to deteriorate which showed her age. On the other hand Norman’s house represents mystery and is a symbol of Norman’s psychological mind. Due to his dissociative identity disorder Normans life is full of death and mystery.

Third, Emily and Norman have similar characteristics such as losing their insanity. Emily poisoned her lover with a poison called arsenic and slept with his corpse. Likewise, Norman is a real psychopath that like to dress up as his dead mother and kills the motels guests. He had a sexual attraction towards a guest but triggered the jealous mother personality in him and killed the girl with a knife. Not only did he kill the guest but also his mother for the reason that her mother fell in love with another man. He killed his mother to fully keep her for himself. Norman created a weird inhumane attachment to his mother’s corpse and kept her body in a room for many years.

In conclusion, the story writers William Faulkner and Alfred Hitchcock created a shocking ending of the story that leaves everyone with questions and the urge to know more. A rose for Emily and the movie Psycho are more common than you can imagine starting from being a genre of Horror and thriller to having many similarities such as the theme, symbols and characteristics. Both are classic Horror stories that never gets old to read or watch due to the full amount of mystery and suspense. Both dynamic characters share the same kind of isolation or loneliness but full of resentment and stuck in the past.

Work Cited

  1. Hitchcock, A., Leigh, J., Perkins, A., Bloch, R., Shamley Productions., & Paramount Pictures Corporation. (1960). Psycho. Shamley Productions.
  2. Faulkner, William. “A rose for Emily.” The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays. W.W. Norton & Company, 2017. pp. 308-316.
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