Comparison of Gothic Literature in Faulkner’s A Rose to Emily”, Poe, and Hawthorne

Category: Edgar Allan Poe, Writer
Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
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The present paper is designed to compare Faulkner’s short story “A Rose to Emily” to the writings of the same genre by Poe and Hawthorne in order to identify the similar criteria, attributed to gothic literature. First of all, it is necessary to pay attention to the depiction of the physical and material dimensions, employed by the authors, as most of them refer to pessimism, inescapable decay and hopelessness. For instance, Faulkner provides the details of Emily’s ageing: “When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray” (Faulkner, 2001,Part IV), which can be parallelized to the very gradual expiration.

Hawthorne, in “The Birthmark” uses dark imagery, e. g. , “late one night when the lights were growing dim…” (Hawthorne, 2002) in order to imply the degeneration and “darkening” of the protagonist’s conscience and morality. Poe, in “The Black Cat”, employs the images of night and the black color is order to create the impressions of fear, and similarly to the other two writers, moral and mental degeneration. Another important component of Gothic literature, used by the writers, is sinister mystery.

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Faulkner in the introductory paragraph states that the whole city gathers at the protagonist’s funeral “through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument” (Faulkner, 2001, Part I), so that the reader is puzzled by the possible reasons for such behavior, Hawthorne introduces his protagonist as a “peculiar” person, a gifted scientist with a mysterious and ambiguous personality, whereas Poe at the very beginning cues at the intrinsic adversity of the events to be presented, as they “have terrified – have tortured—have destroyed” (Poe, 1999) the main character.

Finally, all authors employ mental disorder as a vital aspect of Gothic literature: Faulkner’s Miss Emily literally keeps skeletons in her bed, Hawthorne’s Aylmer is obsessed with a single idea, the removal of the birthmark from his wife’s cheek, whereas Poe’s protagonist in “The Black Cat”, addicted to alcohol, experiences extremely grave fits of anger and aggression, extending his negative emotions to the innocent creature. Essay 2.

The present paper focuses on the realistic and non-judgmental and non-pissing depiction of the protagonist in “Neighbour Rosicky”. First of all, it is important to note that the author easily managed to provide a portrait of a righteous and kind-hearted person, who is, however, ordinary and poorly-educated villager. The overall tone of the short story is friendly and down-to-earth, which probably also points to the protagonist’s nature; as his wife, Mary, believes, Anton Rosicky “ was her man, and the kind of man she liked.

She was rough, and he was gentle , -- city-bred, as she always said. They had been shipmates on a rough voyage and had stood by each other in trying times” (Cartherm 2002, Part II). In addition, the man manages to develop his agricultural business and rich certain affluence, beginning literally with nothing, which points to his resistibility and strong survival skills. Finally, he is very committed to his family and continues teaching and transferring knowledge to his children even after they have grown into adults.

It is possible, however, to suspect a high degree of sentimentalism in the depiction of the decay of the main character’s kind heart, but the author emphasizes the meaning of Anton’s attitude towards the hardships he encounters: starving, suffering from poor economic security, he in his young years managed to ascend over the circumstances and maintain his easy-going and supportive nature; thus, when learning the doctor’s verdict about the possible length of his life, he shows optimism and insists that he is not going to give up the regular agricultural activities.

The protagonist’s last words probably reflect his enthusiastic and caring nature: “I like mighty well to see dat little child, Polly” (Carther, 2002, Part VI), which means, the old man’s optimism, desire for living and interest in earthy and family issues lasts as long as his own physical life.

To sum up, the author successfully completes the goal of realism, associated with depicting practical, simple-minded people without any extravagancies, but with intrinsic ability to remain socially and psychologically productive. The short story resembles a memory about an old friend rather than an ode; moreover, the author manages to avoid another extremity and eliminates the traces of sentimentalism through stressing the main character’s viewpoint concerning his approaching death.

Works cited Carther, W. “Neighbour Rosicky”. 14 December 2002, <http://gutenberg. net. au/ebooks02/0201131. txt> Faulkner, W. “ A Rose for Emily”. 11 May 2001, <http://www. ariyam. com/docs/lit/wf_rose. html> Hawthorne, N. “The Birthmark”. 9 September 2002, <www. online-literature. com/hawthorne/125/> Poe, E. “The Black Cat”. 21 July 1999, <http://classiclit. about. com/library/bl-etexts/eapoe/bl-eapoe-blackcat. htm>

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Comparison of Gothic Literature in Faulkner’s A Rose to Emily”, Poe, and Hawthorne. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from

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