Tension, Contradiction, and Ambiguity: Gender Roles



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How Basinger Makes Use of Quotations

Basinger explains in her theory that while William Faulkner was writing “A Rose for Emily,” he did not put much thought on telling his audience what the sexual orientation of his main characters, Emily and Homer, was (Basinger, 2019). Basinger aims at illustrating how Faulkner executed this, using quotes from the book. For instance, she illustrates that the author uses the word “we” to form a collective narration. She also uses quotes to illustrate a difference in the turn of events. Therefore, she has effectively made use of quotes in her thesis to bring forth her point. 

New Quote 1

“Just as if a man–any man–could keep a kitchen properly,” the ladies said” (Faulkner, 2019). This quote explains how ladies feel that men cannot keep the kitchen area clean. 

I would use this quote because it illustrates how women have come to accept their assigned gender roles. This quote agrees with Basinger’s claim that the author did not associate any gender identification with his main characters. Although women are known as clean creatures, Faulkner does not portray Emily as feminine by stating that her house had started smelling bad

New Quote 2

“… a short time after her sweetheart–the one we believed would marry her –had deserted her” (Faulkner, 2019). This quote gives a possible explanation of why Emily suddenly disappeared.

I would use this quote to illustrate that although Emily was in love, Faulkner does not explicitly tell the reader whether the lover was a man or a woman. I would use the quote to support Basinger’s claim that the author does not tell the sexual orientation of the characters. It is easy to connect the above quote to this claim since we are not informed of the lover’s gender.

New Quote 3

“Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away…” (Faulkner, 2019). This text shows the determination of Emily to get the poison.

I would use this quote to illustrate that Emily showed no fear before the druggist regardless of her frail nature. The reason for using this quote is because it supports Basinger’s thesis. Women are sometimes referred to as shy, but Faulkner made Emily male-like by saying that she stared so hard at the druggist that he had to turn away.



















Basinger, B. (2019). “Tension, Contradiction, and Ambiguity: Gender Roles in: ‘A Rose for Emily’.”

Faulkner, W. (2019). “A Rose for Emily.” Retrieved from 



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