Often in life, the suppression of one’s aspirations combined with the worry of isolation can result in a clinging of the familiar. This is evident in William Faulkner’s narrative “A Rose for Emily” in which a mentally unstable Emily Grierson toxins her fan, Homer Barron, to avoid him from deserting her. Since of the Griersons’ high social status, the townspeople keep up with Emily’s every move although she had ended up being a recluse in the years following her overbearing dad’s death.
With a general forthright tone, Faulkner creates a surprise ending by using a non-traditional plot structure and communicates the dangerous extremes one may turn to in order for love. In the beginning look, the ending of “A Rose for Emily” may come as a shock due to the unchronological plot, however in hindsight there are numerous ideas that Faulkner utilizes to suggest a regrettable resolution.
The surprise, of course, is the revelation of Emily’s necrophilic tendency to embrace the remains of Homer.
The first ominous hint toward Emily’s criminal activity is when a “smell developed” 2 years “after her father’s death and a short time after her sweetie … deserted her.” This stimulates a feeling of interest regarding what might be triggering such a smell in Emily’s house that would draw in the neighbors’ attention.
Later, when her father died, the physicians had to” [try] to persuade her to let them deal with the body.” Even though her selfish father drove away all of her suitors so he might keep Emily as a maid, “with absolutely nothing left, she would need to cling to that which had robbed her.” Since her daddy was all she had understood, Emily declined to let him go despite the fact that he robbed her of any opportunity at love. Her clinging to Mr. Grierson after his death highly foreshadows her future holding on to Homer after she murders him. The next clue involves Emily’s buying of arsenic from a druggist. When he notifies her that the
law requires a reason for the purchase, “Miss Emily simply stared at him, her head slanted back in order to look him eye for eye”– daring him to try forcing the reason from her. This suspicious action evokes a sensation of suspense as Miss Emily’s intents are still unclear but obviously harmful. Had she planned to use the arsenic only “for rats,” why would she withhold her reason from the druggist?
One last tip is offered after Emily’s checking out relatives leave the town and “within three days Homer Barron was back in town.” He is admitted into Emily’s house and the narrator remarks “that was the last we saw of Homer Barron.
” Once again, apprehensiveness appears as the narrator’s statement is typically uttered just when an individual is presumed to have died. These tips would certainly reveal the surprise prematurely had they been informed in a standard, chronological plot.
If Faulkner provided them in order– first Emily’s clinging to Mr. Grierson after his death, her acquiring of arsenic, Homer’s disappearance into Emily’s home, and after that the acrid smell originating from her home– the conclusion would be even more predictable. ‘Through using an unchronological, unconventional plot structure, Faulkner is able to astonish the reader with a terrible resolution.
Although numerous threatening tips add to the suspense, the resolution stays unknown. Had the occasions unfolded in consecutive time, the surprise aspect of the conclusion would not have been as effective. Emily’s embracing of the corpse of her dead enthusiast shows her mental instability as she resists releasing what is familiar to her, simply as she made with her daddy. A morbid story with an unconventional plot structure, “A Rose for Emily” provides insight into how a worry of isolation can dramatically affect one’s actions and frame of mind.
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