What are some of the similarties between Faulkner's Barn Burning and A Rose for Emily?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Barn Burning" and "A Rose for Emily" both focus on:

  • Clannishness: staying intensely loyal to the family.  One cannot betray father, either by giving him up to the judge if he burns barns or by giving him to the undertaker if he's dead.  The honor culture of Southern clannishness does not allow the father's reputation to be challenged from within the family.
  • Southern Gothic themes: focus on death, fire, decay, feces, haunted houses
  • A refusal to trust outsiders, especially the rich or Yankees (Northerners).
  • Deviant, criminal or socially unacceptable behavior: murder, burning animals alive, necrophilia, homosexuality
  • Southern Aristocratic Values: the characters' illegitimate claims that the South is holy, that Chevalier culture is sacred, that women are to be defended by males
  • Faulkner's unmistakable style: experimentation with stream-of-consciousness, time shifts (non-linear plot), and space (arrangement of spatial organization)
  • The belief in the past.  Characters live in the past.  They fear no consequences.  “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  and "All of his and her ancestry, background, is all a part of himself and herself at any moment.”
Read the study guide:
A Rose for Emily

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