“Rose for Emily and The Lottery”

By: Ana Mercado

Reading “A Rose for Emily” and “The Lottery” I could identify some similarities and differences in both stories. Both are great stories published in the twentieth century but by different writers. William Faulkner wrote A Rose for Emily and Shirley Jackson wrote The Lottery. In both stories are that significant literary elements that help us find the differences and the similarities between them. As the epiphany of the death of Emily in the story A Rose for Emily and the Banality of evil of the tradition of The Lottery with a surround of mystery and Gothic Literature which catch our attention since the beginning the two stories. Also the significant symbolism of both stories are really important a better understand of the setting.

Both stories are narrated by the town itself, describing what was happening in the story. The main similarity that I found between these two short stories are the death of the Emily, a Mrs. Hutchinson killed by her own town. But even when both stories share the death of a woman protagonist each of them die for different reasons. In A Rose for Emily, Emily committed suicide, the description of how she died, when the narration said “I want some poison, she said to the druggist” (Faulkner 34). Pointing out that Emily committed suicide and while they are in her funeral they are gossiping and making conclusion of why she did it. Unlike in The Lottery we found at the end the murder of the protagonist, when the town narrates; “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her” (Jackson 78).

Mrs. Hutchinson was killed by her own town because a tradition they followed over the years and they describe how they decide who is going to die and after finding it out they throw them rocks until they kill them. Both stories involve the death of a woman but with completely different reasons. Even though the protagonists have different ways of death both stories still share a homicide when in a Rose for Emily, Emily poisoned her lover Homer Barron a black former man who apparently was dating Emily when he worked for her and then the town started to see them kind of dating and started gossiping around about Emily’s future marriage with a noble man. “But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noble oblige” (Faulkner, 31). People in Emily’s town were gossiping about her relationship with Homer, thinking that considering her social class she needed to marry someone with her same social level.

The dot in the paper that was on the black box.

In both stories even when the setting is completely different but still alike in some interesting points where we found the horror versus terror of the stories. For me, “A Rose for Emily” is about one woman’s fatal inability to accept loss and the culture and the legacy that enables her toxic delusions. Emily’s madness and The Lottery creepy tradition of killing one member of their community by choosing one person with a black box and then throwing rocks to them until their death. To compare the death of Homer and Mrs. Hutchinson I can relate to them the death of innocence, both killed by the ones they best known and which with they share most of their time, killed by the ones they trusted in some way.

The two stories share traditions, the old fashion was thinking between them and how the past tormented them. In A Rose for Emily, she was a wealthy lady abused by her father who died and after he died she conserved the body for a while and after that she started dating Homer, a lower class negro and that was kind not well accepted by the town because she was wealthy and he was not on the same social class than she. After Emily killed herself the town also found the body of Homer, they realized that he died before Emily did. This means that she also kept the body of Homer and she slept next to him, and because of that we realize Emily’s denial of death, that her sins of her father affected her in the way of hate being alone and the hard acceptance of death that at the end she committed suicide to confront it.

Both stories are so strange, but since the beginning takes our attention.

In The Lottery the tradition of a black box which decide who is going to be killed by the town stoning the closed ones rocks until their death seemed completely normal to some of the townspeople, and even when some of them didn’t agree with that tradition they still did it. Proclaiming that even when town neighborhoods stopped that tradition they still kept doing it. “The people on the village began to gather in square, between the post office and bank, around the o’clock; in some towns were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.” (Jackson, 1). Since the first paragraph of The Lottery we can imagine a complete normal town starting their traditions, and we imagine something normal until the last paragraph when we figured out the reason why the kids were collecting rocks getting ready to kill.

Another important tradition mentioned in The Lottery is Halloween, which also seems important to them, giving me the Gothic impression because it’s mentioned instead of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or even The 4th of July. To the townspeople Halloween seems to be more important. It reminds me of the Amish community who currently they keep their traditions. By comparing the completely different setting in the stories they still share the terror v. horror they overcome.

The symbol of the Rose in a Rose for Emily.

The symbolism in both stories is also significant. The Rose in the story A Rose for Emily is symbolic, and in the Lottery it takes form of the black box. Both symbolism had to have a relationship with the title of each story. In the Catholic religion we said we give a rose to the Virgin Mary meaning we give a prayer to her. I can relate the symbol of Rose for Emily as giving her a prayer because of her sadness and suffering. In the Lottery the symbolism of the black box which with they decide who will die, and can relate the black with dark and evil. The symbolism of the box full of mystery with not knowing who is going to die for sure as they have the devil inside and the devil decides the next death. Other important symbolism in a Rose for Emily is the House tearing apart as Emily’s life did once her dad died. But unlike her house was tearing apart, Emily’s room with bridal things and faded in rose color is a symbol of her heart, as she kept the most significant things in her heart and took care of them.

In conclusion both are great stories, with a lot of similarities even when their story is completely different. Both involving traditions that leads them to the death (homicide). Also sharing important symbols as mentioned before. These are two completely different writers with a similar point of view. In my criteria each person can have a different perspectives of each stories because both are narrated by the town, which we can’t know for sure what happened. Each reader can agree in some parts but they can disagree in some other parts of the stories. But still I can be sure most people will agree that both stories are really good. The Gothic Literature that both stories share really put our imagination to work.


In this video explain us better what is a Gothic Literature, it also help us to see how the two short stories are similar to each other.