Ideas for Striking Essay Topics for “A Rose for Emily”
Getting stuck on a subject for a book essay happens more often than not; there are so many different interpretations that can be found for a book. Your teacher may be looking for one thing and maybe only one student out of the whole class gets the idea; but it is better to have thought provoking material rather than being just like all the others. Some teachers even encourage innovative thinking when it comes to interpreting the themes behind a story.
Original and Striking just like writing was intended
Here is a nice collaboration of ideas that can even be expanded upon if the muse so wishes:
- Miss Emily is such an offbeat character, use that to your advantage and try diagnosing her in the story “A Rose for Emily”; even though she never receives medical treatment it is obvious that she has some characteristics for mental issue. This most obvious is in her bizarre character and the withdrawn stance she has when it comes to society.
- The structure of a story can be sometimes dull, but Faulkner used a very interesting structure for this story. Take a fresh look at the story and analyze why he doesn’t use events in a chronological order but rather he mixes things up. Why does this make his story successful or would it be even better in chronological and linear fashion?
- Faulkner in his Nobel Prize speech states that “humanity will endure”. How does his story suggest this and what characters come out the most successful for their hardships and which characters do not?
Even more Writing Prompts for “A Rose for Emily”
In case the top three topics weren’t enough here are some more to help stir up your inspiration:
- In 1894; what was it that the colonel had done for Miss Emily? Analyze the reasons and the action.
- The day after her father’s funeral what did Emily tell the visitors and more expressly why did the townspeople seem unfazed by what could be possibly something odd to say.
- No one has seen the room upstairs for forty years; after Emily’s funeral the townspeople break down the door, what do they find?
- Make a comparison between William Faulkner’s female Southern character and Harper Lee’s version of the same in To Kill a Mockingbird.
- On Emily Grierson’s personality, what factors do you think either shaped or warped her? Make a list and pick the top five most influential characteristics and analyze them.
Inspiration isn’t hard to find as long as you know where to look for it. Faulkner’s short stories are interesting and full of meaning and surely you’ll come across him again even in your academic career.
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Faulkner uses “A Rose for Emily” to address themes of change and progress, especially as it relates to the American South. Although he describes particular individuals within Jefferson (Miss Emily, the older men and ladies, the town leaders), he seems to be using them as symbols for the larger issues that the South was facing at the turn of the twentieth century. Write a paper that discusses how Faulkner addresses the themes of progress and change in the South. Is he a traditionalist, hoping for the South to retain its old ways? Or is he critical of the South for holding on to its traditions?
I. Thesis Statement: William Faulkner uses “A Rose for Emily” to comment on how the South, at its own peril, is refusing to accept the inevitability of historical and social change. If the South does not adopt to the changing times, it will die a lonely, perverse death like Miss Emily.
II. The South as a region “bound” by history and tradition
A. The influences of class and social rank
1. The role of titles such as “Colonel” and “Miss”
2. The town’s perception of Miss Emily’s house
a. Was once located near “august” names
B. The issues of race
1. Tobe, the manservant
2. Colonel Sartoris’s edict regarding “Negro women”
C. Sexual relations
1. Judge Stevens’s refusal to address Miss Emily, a “lady,” directly regarding “the smell”
2. The expectations of marriage for young women
a. Marriage within social class
b. Marriage within “the tribe” (i.e., southern, white, gentility)
III. Miss Emily as a woman “bound” by the South's tradition
A. The influence of the father of Miss Emily
1. “All the young men her father had driven away”
2. “She would have clung to that which had robbed her”
B. The pressures of the “town ladies”
1. “Noblesse oblige”
2. The pressures of marrying a Southern gentleman