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A Rose For Emily: William Faulkner As A Gothic Writer

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A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner, is representative of the southern gothic as the themes of love, lost, death and murder are included in the story. Gothic nature was hinted in the story by the descriptions of emily’s house and the poison she purchased. Emily, who is the protagonist, was a perfect young lady, who was wealthy and lived a happy life with her father. Times have changed and now she is currently an elderly woman living alone in her crumbling house.

The gothic elements indicated in the novel has undoubtedly underlined Faulners work in the gothic period. Faulkner showed greats amount of detail by how illustrative of nature these stories were as time went on during the 19th century. Extreme and antisocial behaviours were explored by southern gothic writers. These behaviours was a result of a confining code of social conduct. Southern gothic indicated the belief that the clarified surface of the social hierarchy were fragile and sensitive, hiding the twisted psyches.

Aengus is the protagonist of the poem and he is the speaker himself. The poem commences by Aengus taking off into a hazel wood to do some fishing. Aengnus proceeds to create a fishing rod out of hazel stick, he then hooks a berry to the end and dips it into a stream. Aengus ends up catching a silver trout. Aengus describes in the second stanza that he places the fish on the floor then starts to begin a fire. He then begins to hear a swishing noise and someone calling out his name.

Aegnus turns his body back and has seen that the trout has transformed into a “glimmering girl”. He was smitten but Aengus doesn’t get the possibility to talk to the girl as she runs and disappears into thin air. As the poem goes on it fasts forward in time. Aengus is now an elderly man and hasn’t stopped the search for the “glimmering girl” who appeared to him some time ago. Even though he’s old, he’s determined to find out where the girl has gone.

William Butler had an interest in Myth and Folklore of his native Ireland. Yeats then became involved to study the occult, esoteric and hermetic traditions but also paranormal phenomena. “The song of wandering aengus is embedded with mythical and occult ideas hence the supernatural concepts. Yeats met a political activist named maud Gonne. Yeats was suddenly captivated by Gonne. “The Song of Wandering Aengus” was created 10 years into Yeats pursuing of Gonne. Yeats passion is reflected in that of mythical Aengus.

To add drama and suspense to the story. William Faulkner used a number of gothic concepts, these concepts help the responders minds to transfer the action forward in their imagination. This is by creating doubts, creating a creepy atmosphere where tension and suspense are possible. A creepy neglected mansion, an elderly lady, townsfolk gossip, horrific memories and suspicion are some of the gothic elements included in ‘A rose for Emily’.

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Gothic stories often include the themes of isolation, suspicion and loneliness, this is commonly paired with romanticism, to help establish the gothic atmosphere. Emily’s background and family history made isolated townspeople more likely to jump to conclusions, which were judgmental because of the influence of others. William Faulkner foreshadowed the ghastly uncovering by outlining the process of how Emily kept her father’s death for three days.

Foreshadowing and flashback are two common rhetorical devices used in gothic texts, these devices make use of time to produce a desired effect. Flashbacks are used to indicate events that have occurred before the beginning of the story. Whereas foreshadowing creates an expectation for an event that has not yet occurred. Faulkner uses both techniques in his story. “A Rose for Emily”, is told by the narrator through a sequence of consecutive flashbacks.

The narrator begins the story by recounting the scene of Emily’s funeral. The description of this is actually a flashback, as the story concludes with the narrators recollection of the towns discovery of the corpse in the Grierson home following Emily’s funeral. As the story goes on, the narrator flashes back and forth through numerous occasions in Emily’s life and the town she grew up in.

Rhetorical devices shown in “the song of wandering Aengus” include poetic form, Rhyme, Metaphors, Similes and Symbolism. Throughout the poem all stanzas follow a ABABCDCD rhyme technique. This rhyme technique leads the poem into a ballad. Yeats includes, symbols, Similes and Metaphors to amplify the resonance of the poems images and language. The images and the stories provided in the poem are clearly communicated through the use of metaphors. The most evident themes in “The Song of Wandering Aengus” is unrequited love and perfection through art.

In the first stanza, young aengus is hit by a strong infatuation with “a glimmering girl”, and prepares to search for her. In the second stanza Aengus has grown “old with wandering” but has struggled to find “the grimmering girl”. Yeats use of mythological allusions and metaphors highlights the theme of romantic idealisations. Perfection through art is the likelihood of perfection through art in an otherwise imperfect world. Yeats has intertwined a pattern of de-romanticization and disappointment. As the poem goes on Yeats addresses that there is always another chance for worldly perfection through artistic creation.

Gothic authors assemble wild, petrifying storylines in which puzzling secrets, supernatural experiences, and characters’ enormous duress conspired to generate a breathless reading occurrence. Which both texts succeeded at, with the use of rhetorical device, which included metaphors, similes and imagery. Both protagonists in the gothic texts, have a pattern of motifs that interrelate with the reservoir of communal components in the narrators conscious. At the start of both texts the protagonists are young and pure, but as the texts move forward the protagonists become old but still have the motive to find something they’ve lost.

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A Rose For Emily: William Faulkner As A Gothic Writer. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-william-faulkner-as-a-gothic-writer/
“A Rose For Emily: William Faulkner As A Gothic Writer.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-william-faulkner-as-a-gothic-writer/
A Rose For Emily: William Faulkner As A Gothic Writer. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-william-faulkner-as-a-gothic-writer/> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
A Rose For Emily: William Faulkner As A Gothic Writer [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-william-faulkner-as-a-gothic-writer/
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