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At the end of "A Rose for Emily," what atmosphere is created by the description of Miss...

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alimactavish123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:13 AM via web

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At the end of "A Rose for Emily," what atmosphere is created by the description of Miss Emily's bedroom that the townspeople entered?

A thin, acrid pall as of tomb seemed to lie everywhere.l...we saw a long strand of iron-grey hair.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM (Answer #1)

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The conclusion of "A Rose for Emily" contains the most elements of the Gothic in Faulkner's short story:

  • Death, gloom, and the grotesque

There is a forbidding atmosphere to the "thin, acrid pall" of the room of a faded, deathly rose. In contrast to the oppression of this room that becomes bizarre in its decaying decorations for a bridal, lies a "delicate array of crystal and the man's toilet things. The setting is of decay and morbidity that finds its end with the strand "of iron-grey hair" from the head of Emily who has wedded death and lain in her bed of necromancy.

...the profound and fleshless grin.  The body had apparnetly once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him.

  • Mystery

The mysterious secrets of Miss Emily Grierson are finally revealed; an extremely eccentric character Miss Emily has been so psychologically damaged that she has embraced necromancy as she "clings to that which had robbed her."

Underneath the supposed refined surface of the social order in which Emily has given china painting lessons, Emily's old family, there apparently lies a twisted psyche residing in the grotesquerie of the old mansion. 


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