Theme Of Mental Illness In A Rose For Emily And The Red Convertible

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Stories can share many themes even when being written in different eras. In A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, Emily is a woman who had been shielded away from everyone for her whole life. When she grows up, her father dies allowing her some freedom in the way she lives her life. When she tries to chase after the person she loves the most, she is denied their affection. In another story, The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich, Lyman's brother Henry is sent off to fight in the Vietnam war. When he comes back he is visibly changed, acting violent and quiet at times. Even when Lyman tries to bring back Henry the way he was before, it does not work. A Rose for Emily and The Red Convertible both share themes of mental illness, symbolism, and tragic …show more content…

Mental illness can stem from inner and outer factors. When Henry, Lyman's brother, comes back from the Vietnam war,” [he] was very different… he was quiet, so quiet, and never comfortable sitting still anywhere” (Erdrich 5). During the Vietnam war, it was very common for soldiers like Henry to come back with extreme cases of PTSD. Having flashbacks of traumatic things he saw affected him deeply, never allowing him to move on with constant reminders. Henry also suffered from depression. When they are hanging outside together, Henry gets in the water and, “[his] boots are filling [with water]... then he’s gone” (Erdrich 12). The PTSD drove him over the edge along side with his depression contributing to his suicidal thoughts. He can not handle all the trauma he went through and commits suicide to finally make them stop. Emily is not any different since she also suffers from depression. Due to being left alone all her life she became isolated to the point that, “she went out very little… people hardly saw her at all” (Faulkner 1). A key point in depression is isolation. The sadness she felt had accumulated to the point where she could no longer face people anymore. That is how deeply mental illness affected

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