Perspective

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William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short, gothic horror story about a woman who struggles to cope with death and suffers from her refusal to change. The story is written from a first person narration, in which the speaker communicates from the point of view of the townspeople. The town’s judgment on the main character, Emily Grierson, is restricted, yet collective. Their assumptions are based on what they see and hear. The character’s every act is consumed by the town’s curiosity and gossip. Emily not only battles with the death of her father, but refuses to submit to change as society around her is in constant transformation. Her grief and troublesome childhood have caused the main character to have mental mental issues. Through a psychoanalytical perspective—using Freud’s divisions of psyche, repression, and sublimation—readers can unveil Emily’s eccentric behavior. Freud’s divisions of psyche can be utilized to explore and understand Emily’s personality. Freud saw the “unconscious [mind] as an area of great psychic activity, which influenced personality and behavior” (“Psychoanalysis”). Freud divided the psychic apparatus into three divisions: id, superego, and ego. The id of an individual is the deepest level of unconscious that is governed by the principle of pleasure. An individual’s psyche is driven by needs and wants, which emanate from the id. Emily’s id dominates her desire to possess and control men. Her yearning had been denied in all of her life since “none of the young men were quite good enough for [her father]” (Faulkner 240). Her reason for being thirty and single was influenced by the possessiveness of her father. “He dominated Emily, driving her suitors away with his horsewhip, and he continues his pow... ... middle of paper ... ...e contemplates Emily sleeping with Homer’s corpse. The murder and hiding Homer’s dead body are the most unacceptable behaviors. Despite the crime she committed, Emily acts as if nothing was wrong as a defense mechanism. Emily’s ego ushers her defense mechanism to create the sublimation of normalcy. With the use of sublimation, the audience can observe how Emily copes with the crime she committed. Faulkner uses many of Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explain the reasons behind Emily’s personality. The main character is a slave to both society and her father’s controlling demeanor. Despite the repressions she has faced since her childhood, Emily is able to obtain the control she desires. Besides her psychology issues, Emily represents a strong woman who is able to manipulate the townspeople, and not only to murder a man, but also to get away with the crime.

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