Untitled Essay, Research Paper
Melissa ClarkArchetypes in A Rose for Emily
Archetypes are, by definition, previous images, characters,
or patterns that recur throughout literature and though consistently enough
to be considered a universal concept or situation. Archetypes also can be
described as complexes of experiences that come upon us like fate, and their
effects are felt in our most personal life. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
contains many of this particular critical method. Although there are several
archetypes found, the most important is Emily’s father.
Archetypes are like riverbeds which dry up when the water
deserts them, but it can find it again at any time. This short story offers
many interpretations. However, the structure of the story breaks down into
two stages: past and present. By examining the archetypes within the story,
it can be suggested that Emily’s over-protective father stands to represent
Emily’s feminist struggle, the ongoing battle for women to have an equal
place in society. Emily should be able to do as she pleases, but her dependence
her father does not allow her to have that freedom.
Her father’s over-protection is evident in this passage,
“We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we
knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed
her, as people will” (279). Her father robs her from many of life’s
necessities. She misses out on having friends, being a normal
“woman,” and her ability to be happy. Emily is not able to live
a normal life which she indirectly blames on her father. Emily is so used
to having her father be there for her, she figures that by keeping his body
he can still be part of her life.
The Jungian archetype of this feminist struggle can be
noted as: Emily is not able to live a normal life because her father keeps
under his thumb. In relation to keeping her father’s body, she keeps
Homer Barron’s body so long because she feels that she has finally
accomplished something in her life. Emily is not ready to give up that feeling.
The feminist struggle is hard to detect but it is still there.
In conclusion, there are two archetypes in A Rose for
Emily: Emily’s father and Homer Barron. Emily’s father is the chief
archetype because he is the reason for Emily’s breakdowns. She has been
scarred for life which she obviously never over comes.