Psychological Disorders in A Rose for Emily

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A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is one of the most popular short stories written by Faulkner. By Faulkner writing about the political and social ways of the South, Faulkner was creating an illusion of the New south, as being what we know today as America. To give background to A Rose for Emily, the story is divided into five sections.

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In section I, the narrator recalls the time of Emily Grierson’s death and how the entire town attended her funeral in her home, which no stranger had entered for more than ten years. In section II, the narrator describes a time thirty years earlier when Emily resists another official inquiry on behalf of the town leaders, when the townspeople detect a powerful odor emanating from her property. In section III, the narrator describes a long illness that Emily suffers after this incident. Section IV continues the story of Emily’s courtship with Homer; as the courtship went on, the townsfolk decided to take action to prevent it, believing it to be improper. Last, but not least, section V returns to the present. After Emily’s death, Tobe leaves Jefferson and never returns. After Emily is buried, the townspeople explore her house, which none of them had seen in decades. In an upstairs room, they find the remains of Homer Barron in a bridal suite. The room is covered in dust and appears to have remained untouched for decades. On the pillow beside Homer’s corpse, they find a strand of Emily’s iron-gray hair.

Analytical themes in literature are what makes a story become relevant; when writing a story, you should be sure to tie in some type of critical lens, and that’s exactly what William Faulkner did. There were two categories, out of the many critical lenses, that A Rose for Emily fell into: Marxism and Psychoanalysis. Marxism studies how upper classes oppress, restrict, and use the lower class. It also studies struggles between classes, and struggles for wealth and power. Often times, racism is used as a distraction for poor people so they won’t unite, while Psychoanalysis studies text for psychological symbolism, motives, and themes; a psychoanalytic critic analyzes the characters as well as the story. Although there were two critical lenses, I believe that Psychoanalysis was the dominant theory.

Throughout her life, Emily was constantly barraged with her father’s insistence upon maintaining the bloodline of the Grierson family,

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