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The Stockholm Syndrome of Emily in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”

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DOI: 10.25236/iwass.2020.009


Sihui Chen, Langyue Zhang

Corresponding Author

Sihui Chen


In the tragic story “A Rose for Emily,” written by William Faulkner, the protagonist Emily develops prototypical symptoms of Stockholm syndrome which contributes greatly to her pathetic ending. Finding the evidences that are corresponding to the symptoms, this paper concludes that: 1) Emily develops a strong sense of dependence and alliance towards his father who plays a patriarchal and masculine role in her life and builds a cage to control her; 2) Emily stands in line with town people who interfere and constrain her life in order to uphold her dignity and identity; 3) Emily sacrifices her faith for her lover Homer who cheats her love and challenges the dignity of the declining nobility. Finally, all factors result in the wretched ending of her life as a withered rose. However, such tragedy is by no means a particular case but a trauma imprinted on the American South.


“A Rose for Emily”, Faulkner, Stockholm syndrome, male-dominated society, cultural conflict