What are some examples of Feminist Criticism in "A Rose for Emily" with evidence from the text to support them? 

1 Answer

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In Faulkner's Gothic masterpiece, there are also elements of feminist criticism with respect to Emily's character and the narrator as feminine.

Emily's character

Certainly Emily lives under the patriarchy of her father as she becomes "a duty... a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town." Symbolically her father dominates over her as she stands in front of his portrait:

On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplaces stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily's father. 

After her father's death, still so attached has she become to her father, Emily refuses to bury her father, standing in a black dress with his

...thin gold chain descending to her waist...the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.

Because of this overbearing patriarchy, time has passed Emily by and she becomes alienated from the townspeople and remains reclusive for years as she "clings to that which had robbed her, as people will" until she is seen with a Northerner, Homer Barron. 

Nevertheless, Emily yet perceives herself as aristocratic, as seen in Section III when she dismisses the druggist's questions about her purchase of arsenic.


In his essay "A Rose for Emily: Another View of Faulkner’s Narrator in 'A Rose for Emily,'" Michael Burdock contends that the narrator of Faulkner's story is female. For, she complains that when Homer starts to be seen with Emily,

‘‘The men did not want to interfere, but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister … to call upon her.’’

It is also two female cousins from Alabama who come to speak with Emily about her conduct with a Northern laborer. Clearly, the women, narrator and relatives, are solicitous of Emily while the men remain detached from her. Even after her death, the old soliers in their Confederate uniforms rearrange Emily's life to fit them into the time of dancing with them.