Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner and "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar
Allen Poe: Can We Trust the Foreshadowing of the Southern Gothic?
One issue stands out about both "A Rose for Emily" and the Cask of Amontillado: a betrayal of trust. Indeed, the only things that can be trusted are the foreshadowing, flashback and the loneliness that accompany us all into a trip into the Southern gothic (the macabre south of the Mason-Dixon line). Even these aspects of the stories are shrouded in mystery and take time to come out. Emily hides Homer Barron's body and does not give him a burial, just as it was foreshadowed in the handling of her father's death. In death, as in life, her feelings for Homer are be hidden away. Only in death can Emily's true self be revealed and Homer can possibly be put to rest. Then, the loneliness that inspires Emily's desperate plot can be put to rest as well. Fortunato is led to his death by Montresor who took him to the place of his death in a wine cellar on the basis that they were going to test taste some wine. Trusts are betrayed in both stories that lead to the death of the victims. In the "Cask of Amontillado," irony, gothic style and foreshadowing permeate the story.
Repression is a foreshadowing as well as a flashback term which permeates the "A Rose for Emily." According to Yang Hong-mei "although both Steinbeck and Faulkner do not provide us with direct descriptions of how emotionally trapped and repressed their protagonists are and how they long for love and affection as ordinary women, we are still allowed enough access to their inner worlds to understand their thoughts, sufferings, disillusionment, for both authors effectively utilize, either in a similar or different way, some literary elements or techniques to help create characters and present themes" (Hong-mei 73)
Yang Hong-mei goes on to point out that the closed-in setting of the story helps to foreshadow that Emily feels physically and psychologically constrained and isolated, symbolic of her yearning for acceptance as a female and for romantic love. Unfortunately, she keeps ending up running into dead ends, including her life, the ultimate dead end. This is of course a flashback to her father's death.
The decomposing heritage is all that is left to Emily after her father's death as well as her experiences flash back to this. She did not go out much. Her front door remained closed and people hardly saw her go out at all. Ironically, the only sign of life about the place was the Negro man who was able to go in and out with a market basket doing her shopping, symbolizing that this man had more freedom than she did. Men, all men, have more freedom than this anti-heroine. For Miss Emily, the house is a fortress and a sanctum sanctorum where she can hide her emotions and plan her revenge on males.
Emily is trapped in this flashback world of the past and at battle all the time with the present moment, refusing to accept the changes of the world around her. The descriptions of the house and the modifications to it over the years reflect aspects of her character, including her isolated and repressed mind.
Emily is trapped in a world that is disconnected from time and space.
Flashback and foreshadowing are her only connections with real time since she is not based in linear time, but rather moves backward and forward in the ether. According to Yang Hong-mei, Faulkner avoids a chronological order of Emily's life in order to allow the reader to examine the finished puzzle piece by piece. The scrambled chronology enhances the reader's interest by providing suspense and encourages them to become involved personally with the story by reordering the events and their logical connections (Hong-mei 74-75). Miss Emily can not accept this and stays outside of the context of time and space itself.
In his comparison of the Faulkner tale by John a. McDermott to Peyton Place and Psycho, he elaborates upon the use of the Southern gothic as a literary device. He points out that Faulkner uses it in a head-on attack on class inequities and male privilege that are…