Possibility of a Mental Illness by Researching the Song Lyrics

Last Updated: 17 May 2023
Pages: 5 Views: 69

I began my research re-reading the short story, A Rose for Emily and searching for articles on the song, “A Rose for Emily", by The Zombies. It didn't take me too long to find an article explaining the story behind the song, "A Rose for Emily", and why it fits S-Town. But, it has taken quite some time to find some reputable sources on character analysis for the short story A Rose for Emily. I've also been searching for articles that may have a psychoanalysis on Emily Grierson, the heroine in A Rose for Emily.

The first article I found was an article in theguardian, explaining how The Zombies song sets the tone for the podcast and how it's backstory fits the tale of John B McLemore. In the article Alexis Petridis goes on to explain the similarities the song has with Faulkner's heroine in the short story, A Rose for Emily, and similarities presented to us in S-Town with John B Mclemore. Petridis (2017) states that, "the Zombies' retelling of Faulkner's tale concentrates on the heroine's otherness, her isolation, her sense of chances missed, her frustration, her pride - themes also found in the life of S-Town's central figure, John B McLemore." There are many commonalities between the eerie, melancholy song, and S- Town. I plan to use this article when discussing the importance of the song and how it appropriately fits the ending of each chapter in S-Town.

One article I found, has proven to be quite useful, is an article I found on IvyCat. The writers, Moussa Ahmadian and Leyli Jorfi, explain the essence of time in the story A Rose for Emily, and they separate the phases in which the story is told. They explain how the way the story is presented show the phases (classical and neo-classical). These phase changes effects Emily Grierson, and they also change the view of the townspeople over time. Ahmadian and Jorfi (2015), draw comparisons to how Emily's life is presented through a anaplepsis (flashbacks), and through some prolepsis (flashforwards) within those flashbacks. It will also help me discuss how Miss Emily is not part of the diminishing past for the townsfolk, but a part of their inseparable present. This article will help me distinguish those phases in S-town when comparing it to John B McLemore's life.

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Another article I found was an article called, "Who Makes a Devil out of a Fair Lady?", which is an analysis of the social causes of Emily Grierson's tragedy in A Rose for Emily. In this article, writer Du Fang analyzes the causes of Miss Emily's downfall. Fang also gives insight on Emily Grierson's mental state and how her unwillingness to socialize with the townspeople was a, was an act of passive resistance directed against society. Fang (2007) states, "When the two come into conflict, it surely will cause great confrontation and if the power of the community is strong enough, it often results in the destruction of the individual." This article will be useful when comparing John and Emily, as they were both resisting society and had tragedies in their lives that shaped them and ultimately lead them to death.

Then I started to look up S-Town and John B Mclemore, hoping to find more articles on John's mental state. As I was searching, I came across an article about the ways S-Town depicts mental illness. In this article Mango (2017) states that, "the podcast teaches important lessons about recognizing depression symptoms and how to help someone struggling with mental illness." Throughout the article Alison Mango goes on to explain 7 ways S-town, in her opinion, depicts how devastating mental illness can be. She sheds light on how John B speaking candidly about suicide should've thrown some red flags.

The second point she makes is that sexuality played a major role in John's life. He would constantly define himself as "semi-homosexual." As we progress into the podcast, we learn more about his struggle with sexuality as it would be difficult coming out as gay in a small, conservative town in the rural south may have been possibly dangerous, for McLemore. There are several great topics and examples in this article, I plan to use this article to help me map out his progression into depression. It can also piggy back on my second source, as it also explains two phases that Emily Grierson goes through.

The next source I used was the short story, A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner. The story consists of Emily Grierson a mysterious figure of the town. The narrator of the story describes her as a "fallen monument" to the town, as he recalls Miss Emily's death. She is seen as a "slender figure in white" just a part of the background, as her father patriarchal chauvinist, in the front. The community throughout her life, begrudgingly stayed civil with Emily, but none of them truly care for her, as she had been isolated for so long.

This caused her to constantly be under the disapproval of the townspeople, so when her father died, she clung to him for he was all she had. She keeps the corpse of Homer Barron, the man she was deeply infatuated with, for several years as the corpse alleviates her loneliness. Like Emily, John's family history kept him stuck in one place. This short story will help me compare the town of Mississippi, to that of Woodstock, Alabama, in S-Town.

I feel that I am in calm waters when it comes to my term paper. I'm still in the grey on how I will incorporate the death of John and Emily, as a mean to expose the towns of their faults, but I feel with enough careful reading of the short story and careful listening of the podcast. I will be able to fully explain that point in my term paper. I hope that I can properly connect these two stories in a way that is engaging and eye-opening as it won't be a simple comparison of the short story and the podcast. This is my rose for john.


  1. Ahmadian, M., & Jorf, L. (2015). A Narratological Study and Analysis Of: The Concept of Time in William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily". Advances In Language And Literary Studies, 6(3), 215-224.
  2. Fang, Du. (2010). "Who Makes a Devil out of a Fair Lady?- An Analysis of the Social Causes of Emily's Tragedy in A Rose for Emily". Canadian Social Science. Faulkner, W. (1930). A Rose for Emily (pp. Pg: 1-9). [S.I.]: Random House Publishing Group. Be. Health.com. Retrieved 25 September 2017, from http://www.health.com/depression/s- town-john-mclemore
  3. Mango, A. (2017). 7 Ways 'S-Town' Showed How Devastating Mental Illness Can
  4. Petridis, A. (2017). The story behind A Rose for Emily - and why it's perfect for S-Town. the guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/culture/shortcuts/2017/apr/17/rose-for-emily-s-town-zombies- podcast-john-b-mclemore
  5. Reed, B. (2017). S-Town. Podcast retrieved from https://stownpodcast.org/

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Possibility of a Mental Illness by Researching the Song Lyrics. (2023, May 17). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/possibility-of-a-mental-illness-by-researching-the-song-lyrics/

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