What would be a good thesis and argument for an analysis on A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If I were going to write an essay on that subject, I think I would be strongly tempted to make a comparison between William Faulkner's Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily" and Charles Dickens' character Miss Havisham in his Great Expectations. The two women are so strongly alike that Faulkner must have gotten the idea for his story from Dickens. Emily Grierson is a Southern aristocrat who lives in solitude and never has gotten over being jilted by the Northerner Homer Barron. Miss Havisham is an English aristocrat who lives in solitude in a decaying house and has never gotten over being jilted by Compeyson. Miss Havisham does not commit a murder, but she might have done so if she had had the opportunity. Instead she tries to take out her hatred on the whole male sex. Both women are extremely proud and both are obviously a little crazy. Both probably look and dress very much alike--in well-worn, old fashioned clothes. I cannot help thinking that Faulkner must have been strongly influenced by the character of Miss Havisham, and my thesis statement would state that belief explicitly. My argument would simply consist of examples of ways in which the two women are alike. If you haven't read Great Expectations, here is a brief description of Miss Havisham, who is the only character in the novel you need concern yourself with.

Miss Havisham, a lonely, embittered old woman. When her lover jilted her at the altar, she refused ever to leave her gloomy chambers. Instead, she has devoted her life to vengeance. With careful indoctrination, she teaches Estella how to break men’s hearts. Just before her death, she begs Pip to forgive her cruelty. (eNotes Study Guide) 

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A Rose for Emily

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