"A Rose for Emily" is a classic example of Southern Gothic fiction, and it sports most of the specific features usually identified with the genre. Southern Gothic fiction (as well as traditional Gothic literature)
relies on supernatural, ironic, or unusual events to guide the plot.
Unlike traditional Gothic literature, Southern Gothic fiction
uses these tools not for the sake of suspense, but to explore social issues and reveal the cultural character of the American South.
Other specifics to the genre include the use of antebellum characteristics; a woman in need of help; a heroic man; the grotesque; strong egos; and, often, racial bigotry.
"A Rose for Emily" includes nearly all of these examples. Irony is found throughout and there are several unusual events pertinent to the plot and climax. It is set in an old Southern town where the Civil War is still remembered by many of the living. Emily lives in an old, ante-bellum home (old, dark houses being a traditional gothic element), and is decidedly a strong-willed woman as well as a "damsel in distress," though, perhaps not in the traditional sense. More than one of her actions appear as highly grotesque. Homer Barron appears as the would-be hero.