Essay on The Female Role in A Rose for Emily, Miss Brill, and The Storm

Reading literature, at first, might seem like simple stories. However, in works like William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill,” and Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” the female protagonists are examples of how society has oppressive expectations of women simply because of their gender.

In “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, the story starts out with a distinctive split between the motivations of men and women: “The men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity” (Faulkner 121). At the funeral of Emily, the narrator appoints men in the category of attending out of respect, and women attending simply because they are curious and nosy. The immediate distinctive division between men and women suggests the story has a “stance towards patriarchal societal structures” (Curry) in which men are dignified and women are shallow. An additional example of how women are treated as sub-par to men is when the women complain of the smell from Emily’s house but are not taken seriously until a man complains; women are portrayed as unheard. Although Faulkner compares the jurisdiction between men and women, the main component of the story is the expectations society has on a “lady”(Curry). Even after the men and women have complained about the smell from Emily’s house, confronting Emily about the issue would invalidate her status as a lady; “a ‘lady’ would not have such a house” (Curry). In a patriarchal society, it is never the goal to destroy a lady. In such a society, ladies are entitled to act a certain way. Later in the story, Emily is able to illegally purchase arsenic without a valid reason, but the cashier assumes she is committing suicide. After Homer, Emily’…

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Peltier, Robert. “An Overview of “Miss Brill”.” Short Stories for Students. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

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Mansfield, Katherine. “Miss Brill.” Lit. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. 135-137. Print.

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