by Steven Perreault
Comparison between "A Rose for Emily" and Psycho (movie by
convinced that everybody remembers a particular house in which you felt
uncomfortable because the house was dusty, decaying, and strangely dark. It
wasn’t the house itself that made you shiver, but your fertile imagination and
all the thoughts that you had. The creepy house is one of the themes that I will
compare using William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Alfred
Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho.
In 1930, when Faulkner wrote his short story, he presented a creepy house. A
house that no one took care or repaired for years and it quickly became
dilapidated. A house where secrets were buried and sealed in. Hitchcock’s
house is now famous and today serves as a tourist attraction. The now famous
Bates mansion was first built to create and bring a strange atmosphere in the
movie. The house symbolized the mystery, the secret of Hitchcock’s main
character Norman Bates. The sinister mansion is always seen in the background of
the motel, mostly during dusk.
Another theme that is used by both authors is loneliness.
Emily Grierson lives a lonesome life in her old house with her black servant:
“ He talked to no one, probably not even to her…” (p. 488). The author
describes her lifestyle as follows: “dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil,
and perverse” (p. 488). Those adjectives clearly demonstrate that Emily lives
her life surrounded by memories of the past in her big empty house. In Psycho,
the loneliness of Norman Bates is mostly due to the fact that his house and the
Bates motel were built next to the old highway. The new main road doesn’t lead
to the motel, so only lost travelers stop there for the night… In addition of
trying to save the non-thriving business, Norman has to take care of his “mother”,
so that’s why he doesn’t have any friends. However, he’s known in the town
as a calm and nice young man.
Both stories talk about a murder. In “ A Rose for Emily”, the main character
kills her lover with arsenic because she wants to keep him with her forever and
she doesn’t want him to leave her ( there are also other explanations to the
murder). This way of thinking reflects Emily’s insanity. In the movie Psycho,
the murder scene in the shower is now a classic of the horror genre. Bernard
help to establish an ambience of
terror. The Norman Bates’ “mother” kills Marion Crane in the shower with a
The reason is simple: Norman has a crush on his new client and his “mother”
didn’t like it. Norman’s “mother” wants to protect her son from
perversion and vice.
Subsequent to the gothic house, the loneliness and the
crimes, both masterful storytellers use the themes of hidden secret and mystery.
Emily lives a life based on her past. Her father always refused all of the
different escorts who came to see his daughter. She spent a lot of time in her
big house. After the death of her father, she meets a man and you all know what
happened. Nevertheless, the people in the town don’t. There are stories
running around and everybody has an opinion, but no one really knows Emily’s
secrets: “Already we knew that there was one room in that region above stairs
which no one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced.” (p.
488). Norman Bates’ secrets are linked with the existence of his “mother”.
In the movie, he talks a little with Marion about his life and about his mother.
He becomes very angry when she tells him that he would be happier living his
life somewhere else and without his mother. The thing is that she doesn’t know
that Norman’s mother died years ago, and that he lives alone with her dead
body in the mansion. He became insane when she died and now lives a double-life.
He wears her mom’s dresses and talks like her. At the end of the movie, when
he’s arrested, his “mother” now has total control over his life.
Both William Faulkner and Alfred Hitchcock created shocking
ending for their masterpieces. They succeeded throughout the short story and the
movie to create a terrifying and mysterious impression. Those genius men’s
works are now undeniable American classics of the genre.