Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Gothic Writing Style In A Good Man Is Hard To Find, A Rose For Emily, And Good Country People

Words: 1750
Pages: 4
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner are well-known for their Southern Gothic style of writing. Their short stories like “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, ”A Rose for Emily”, and ”Good Country People” feature many elements that are characteristic of this genre of literature. Southern Gothic Literature was introduced early in the 20th century and eventually grew in great popularity. The genre stemmed from the Gothic and American gothic writing styles. Southern Gothic literature focuses on the social issues and history of the South and the dark themes that can be taken from it. The grotesque and unexpected features may be one of the main things that can be used to describe this genre. Anthony Di Renzo explains that grotesque elements are seen as a vice, saying that it goes beyond the accepted ideals of society (5). While reading the literature, it may make the audience feel uneasy or shocked. Thomas Ærvold Bjerre describes the elements of Southern Gothic Literature as “…the presence of irrational, horrific, and transgressive thoughts, desires, and impulses; grotesque characters, dark humor, and an overall angst-ridden sense of alienation” (1).These elements are prevalent in the works of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and many others alike. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, “A Rose for Emily”, and “Good Country People” are great examples of Southern Gothic Literature because they feature southern settings, horribly flawed characters, and grotesque elements.

William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily” qualifies as Southern Gothic Literature because of the southern setting, flawed characters, and grotesque elements. As for the setting, the story is takes place in the small town of Jefferson, Mississippi sometime after the Civil War. The story largely displays the change from the Old South to the New South both literally and symbolically. The narrator of the story tends to address the changing aspects of their town. He describes the modernization by addressing that new additions like garages and cotton gins have been spread to every residence of the area (Faulkner 1). The main character, Emily Grierson’s house is the only one in town that hasn’t been modified or updated at all through the decades. The narrator compares her house to the rest of the nice neighborhood by describing it as “lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores.” (Faulkner 1). In the story, Emily isn’t willing to adapt from her old southern ways to the modern life of the South. She represents the past and disappearance of nobility in the south by not tending to her home or her life. Emily is the main flawed character of the story, having struggles both internally and with society. She comes from wealth and, throughout her life, her father has controlled her and separated her from society to uphold their high status. As she gets older, and even after her father’s death, she intentionally makes herself the outcast of the community for years, never leaving her home, never communicating with the townspeople, and relying on her manservant to aid her. It can be assumed that she suffers from a mental disorder that could be hereditary. The narrator explains that, “People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last” (Faulkner 2). Emily’s issues have primarily stemmed from the control of her father. When he dies, she denies that he I dead and she keeps his body for 3 days before coming to reality. After her father’s death, she begins her first romantic relationship with Homer Barron. The townspeople suspect that they will be engaged, even though there was gossip in town that he was “not a marrying man” (Faulkner 4). Since Emily struggles with loss and social skills, she fears that Homer will leave her, so she decides to poison him. This way, Homer will never leave her, and she can control him until her death. Every day until her death, the townspeople conclude that he’s disappeared. The main grotesque element of “A Rose for Emily” is presented at the end of the story. After Emily dies, the townspeople open the door of her bedroom and find Homer’s corpse on the bed. He has clearly been there since he died decades ago. The narrator remarked, that they stood over him for a while, looking at his “fleshless grin” (Faulkner 5). The people end up spotting a head-shaped dent in the pillow next to his, and picked up a strand of grey hair (Faulkner 5). It’s implied that after Emily poisoned Homer, she continued to sleep with his body every night until her own death. Thomas Dilworth suggests that her unusual actions regarding her father and Homer’s death implies that she lived a very unhappy life with a severe thirst for company (253). This event, along with the others described, accurately depicts how “A Rose for Emily” is an example of Southern Gothic Literature.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Flannery O’Connor’s, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” qualifies as Southern Gothic Literature because of the southern setting, flawed characters, and grotesque elements. This story takes place along the rural roads of the South. A family wants to take a road trip from Atlanta to Florida. The grandmother does not want to go and attempts to convince them not to go by saying that a criminal, The Misfit, escaped from a penitentiary and is headed to Florida. When they leave a small restaurant on the way to Florida, the grandmother remembers an old plantation that she visited in her youth and begs the father to take them there instead. He gives in, and they head to the plantation. Once they near the destination, they begin driving through a dirt road that’s filled with hills and pink-colored dust (O’Connor, “A Good Man” 39). These simple towns, dirt roads, and the plantation are representative of the South. The fact that the grandmother desires to go to the plantation may imply that she longs for the way things used to be and to feel like her younger self, a southern lady. Although each member of the family is an example of a flawed character, the grandmother and The Misfit are the primary ones. The grandmother is self-absorbed and often judgmental. She views herself as having a higher stature than others because she is a lady. Because of this belief, she expects everybody to respect her even if she doesn’t reciprocate the same respect. According to Matthew Fike, “The grandmother is not godly, prayerful, or trustworthy…” (313). The grotesque elements are shown towards the end of the story. Once the family gets to the dirt road, the frantic cat in the car causes Bailey, the father, to crash into a ditch. This occurs because the grandmother had just remembered that the plantation is in Tennessee, not Georgia. She decided not to announce that. Suddenly, a car arrives at the scene. Three men exit the car, one being The Misfit. The grandmother’s mistake was that she let him know that she recognized his face. During a long conversation between the grandmother and The Misfit about religion and good people, he orders the other two men to take the family into nearby woods. The story describes sounds of gunshots coming from the woods, and it is implied that the grandmother’s family has been murdered. She pleads for her own life, insisting that The Misfit is a good man and should repent. At the end of the conversation between the grandmother and The Misfit, he shoots her three times. This story is a great example of Southern Gothic Literature, because it has many dark themes and flawed characters throughout, but also includes mild dark humor and the rural setting of the South.

Flannery O’Connor’s, “Good Country People” qualifies as Southern Gothic Literature because of the setting of the south, flawed characters, and grotesque elements. This story takes place in a rural area on Mrs. Hopewell’s farm. The main flawed characters of this story are Mrs. Hopewell, Hulga, and Manley Pointer. Mrs. Hopewell tends to speak on being “good country people” (O’Connor, “Good Country People” 2), having Christian beliefs, and having social superiority. She is wealthy and she sees most people as lower than her because of her status. Hulga, Mrs. Hopewell’s daughter, loses one of her legs in a hunting accident as a child and has to grow up with a wooden one. She also has a bad heart. Hulga views herself as morally superior to everyone else because she has a PhD in philosophy, doesn’t believe in God, and sees the world differently. Pointer comes along selling Bibles and takes interest in Hulga. Hulga, being 32 years old, tells him that she’s 17. They both seduce each other, each with different motives. Pointer often asks about her leg, saying it makes her different. The grotesque element of the story appears when the go out for a walk. At some point in their stroll, they end climbing up the ladders of a barn. Pointer insists that he loves her and that she should say it back. After some time, she returns the comment. He tells her show where her wooden leg joins and proceeds to take it off and set it out of her reach. Pointer’s true colors begin to show. He reveals that he also doesn’t believe in God and implies that he’s done this many times under different aliases, saying that he once got a glass eye out of it (O’Connor, “Good Country People” 18). It can be assumed that Pointer is a conman who goes around as a Bible salesman, targeting women with disabilities in order to collect the objects they’re dependent on. By Pointer telling her that the leg makes her different, shows his way of making her feel vulnerable and put trust him. In “Understanding Flannery O’Connor”, Margaret Whitt states, “She can get another leg, but how she thinks about the world in which she dwells has been forever altered by the Bible salesman’s words and actions.” (78). He has fooled and humiliated her to a great extent, so she will never be the same.

In conclusion, Southern Gothic Literature is accurately displayed in the stories “A Rose for Emily”, ”A Good Man is Hard to Find”, and ”Good Country People.” Each story contains elements of grotesqueness, southern settings, and flawed characters. These elements, among others perfectly describe Southern Gothic. This genre has been around since the 1900s and is still widespread to this day. Faulkner and O’Conner will forever be known for their contributions to Southern Gothic Literature.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Gothic Writing Style In A Good Man Is Hard To Find, A Rose For Emily, And Good Country People. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“Gothic Writing Style In A Good Man Is Hard To Find, A Rose For Emily, And Good Country People.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
Gothic Writing Style In A Good Man Is Hard To Find, A Rose For Emily, And Good Country People. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2023].
Gothic Writing Style In A Good Man Is Hard To Find, A Rose For Emily, And Good Country People [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.