A Rose for Emily: Gothic Imagery as a Method of Description

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Christopher Gardner
English 68
Professor Brackenhoff
Tues/ Thurs. 4:45 p.m.
A Rose for Emily
In Edgar Alan Poe’s, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Poe states, “Gothic fiction is marked by imagery in settings which create a sense of gloom, mystery, the supernatural, the irrational, and horror.” Likewise, in “Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, Faulkner uses the main method of gothic imagery to create parallels between Miss Emily’s house, her state of mind, and her personality. The usage of such descriptive language is evident in the very beginning of the story with the description of the façade of Miss Emily’s house. Faulkner states, "But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-- an eyesore among eyesores." This uses gothic imagery to show Miss Emily's house as a heavy, rotting house that was once new and perfect. This reflects Miss Emily in that at one time she was young and normal but now has aged and succumbed to the circumstances of her upbringing. Faulkner's gothic descriptions continue with the description of the inside of Miss Emily's house. When members of the Board of Aldermen come to her house to inquire about her taxes they are allowed access to the dark, cave like interior of Miss Emily's house. "They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse-- a close, dank smell." (Faulkner) The interior of the house is described as something rotting and old, dusty and molding from disuse even though both Miss Emily and Tobe live there. The house is dusty from lack of cleaning and lack of Company. The furniture parlor is described. It is described as being heavy, leather furniture. The image of a darkened room with bulky, dark furniture occupying its floor space make...
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