Study Guide

A Rose for Emily Genre

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Southern Gothic

Take a gander over to our Characteristics of Southern Gothic page for a quick second. Then come back—we know it's easy to get lost in Carson McCullers/Tennessee Williams land.

We're going to go down the Characteristics checklist and see if "A Rose For Emily" fits the Southern Gothic bill. (Spoiler: it does. It totally does.)

Novel/short story: Check! Most Southern Gothic works are written in prose. "A Rose For Emily" is a short story.

Irony: Check! We define an "ironic turn of events" as "when the plot of a story takes the characters (and us readers) somewhere totally unexpected—in fact, the opposite of where you'd expect things to end up." We think "A Rose For Emily" contains quite the plot twist.

Macabre and Grotesque: Check! Moldering forty-year-old corpse? Pretty macabre and grotesque.

Social Issues: Check! Hoo-boy. "A Rose For Emily" features sexism, Stockholm syndrome, outdated ideas of chivalry, servitude, and virulent gossip.

Violence: Check! Killing someone with rat poison? We're going to go ahead and call that violent.

Southern Setting: Check! We see dudes wearing Confederate uniforms to a funeral. 'Nuff said.

Decay: Check! Take your pick: both Miss Emily's house and Homer Barron's body decay throughout this story.

Outsiders: Check! Homer Barron is a Yankee...and no one likes him because of it.

Slavery And Race: Check! Take a peek at our Character Analysis of Tobe for more.

That's 9/9, guys. "A Rose For Emily" is a 100%, Grade A work of Southern Gothic.

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