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“A Rose For Emily” – William Faulkner


“A Rose For Emily”– William Faulkner

1 True Love and the Psychologically Crazy In “A Rose For Emily” by William Faulkner, released in 1931, he exposes the mentally instable and disturbed mind of Emily Grierson. The story describes a woman living in the American Deep South, in a town called Jefferson, between the 1850’s and 1920’s, when the class structure was extremely stratified/racially segregated. Faulkner represents the story in 5 sections that run out sequential order, making the story more fascinating and compelling as the reader. Through the use of ironic and interesting signs and themes, the southern gothic fiction iterature and motion, in addition to the captivating characterization, William Faulkner is able to offer the reader a very first hand experience in thinking about the various components of what true love are and expose how struggling and pushed away Emily Grierson is. To get a more in depth concept of what happens in the story, it is important to sum up the centerpieces that will be broadened on later. Faulkner tells the story in very first individual plural, trying to represent the feelings of the townspeople. The very first area begins “When Miss Emily Grierson passed away, our whole town wen toddler her funeral” (516 ), and includes a flashback escribing how Emily does not have to pay taxes in Jefferson, considering that her father, who has passed away, did not have to. We then relocate to a various moment that describes a rancid smell originating from Emily’s home. Next, Emily’s fan Homer is presented and Emily buying arsenic (toxin) at the drug shop. Since the townspeople are worried about Emily, they send out a letter to her cousins because they believe Emily and Homer’s relationship is “a bad example to the youths” (520 ). There is a passage of time in this second to last section and ends with Emily’s death.

The 5th, and last, area explains what occurs after Emily passes away. “Then we saw that in the 2nd pillow was the imprint of a head. Among us lifted something from 1 2 it and leaning forward, that faint and unnoticeable dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long stand of iron-gray hair” (522 ). Now that the fundamentals are covered, it is time to speak about the method Faulkner has actually assembled the characters in this story and how each connect to one another. The main character, Emily Grierson, is a static character that is stuck in the past and struggles with the changing that is going on the planet around her.

She is very personal throughout the whole story, keeping to herself and staying in her home for a majority of the time. We see her resistance to change at numerous points throughout the story, but the part that really captured my attention was her not paying her taxes, due to the fact that the old mayor, Colonel Sartoris, came up with a story about how Emily’s father had lent money to the town and this was the method he was returned for his appreciation, and the way her home still looks the same after all this time that her dad has been dead. The Board of Aldermen came to visit Emily to inform her to pay her taxes. Her voice was dry and cold. ‘I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris described it to me. Maybe one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves” (517 ). She then goes on to say, “‘See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson” (517 ). This straight reveals Emily’s aversion to change and failure to let go of the past, because Colonel Sartorius has been dead for practically 10 years when this conversation happens. Emily also depicts her static characterization when the town gets totally free postal shipment; “Miss Emily alone declined to let hem fasten the metal numbers above her door and connect a mail box to it. She would not listen to them” (521 ). Not just is Emily depicted as a woman who struggles with letting go and altering, but likewise she is extremely mentally instable. After reading the story and putting it together in sequential order, it is easy to tell that Emily is not able to have a genuine relationship and kills Homer, and then 2 3 decides to sleep next to his dead remains for many years. This describes the type of individual that Emily was and likewise makes the reader of the story think of different elements of true love and what hi involve. I believe it is interesting what Faulkner needs to state about his own character at Nagano (1956 ): “I feel sorry for Emily’s catastrophe; her disaster was, she was an only child, a just daughter. At the time when she might have found a spouse, might have had a life of her own, there was most likely some one, her father, who said, ‘No, you should stay here and look after me” … “And when she lost him [Homer] she could see that for her that was the end of life” (523 ). Emily grew up in a family where her father treated her like a princess and showed her all the methods not to enjoy someone.

We see her struggle to carry on from her father’s death from the hesitation to pay her taxes and put a mailbox on her home. However since of this persisting style of unwillingness to change, when she feels she is about to loose Homer, she eliminates him since she knows that’s the only way she can have him. As Faulkner says, “She had actually had something and she wanted to keep it, which is bad– to go any length to keep something” (523 ). Throughout this paper, I keep revisiting the theme of hesitation to change. Even in the type of character Emily is; static, non-changing, rejection to think and release.

But I think an even larger element of this theme is the method it can lead someone to end up being psychologically instable and alienated. Prior to her father’s death, I’m sure Emily was a normal lady who was held down by her dad. However after he died, and she had to reside in the world alone, it took a toll on her. She did not wish to accept her father was dead and alter things around since it is what she has been utilized to for so long. Then, when true love enters her realm of possibilities, she does not understand how to manage it and demonstrates how disorderly and psychologically instable her mind is by killing Homer with rsenic and then sleeping beside the remains for many years. 3 4 Why make the title, “A Rose For Emily”, when roses (the flowers) never appear in the story? This is an interesting sign presented from the start and when I read it, I translated the rose as a sign of love. Now, it does look like an odd choice for the title of this story, however it also fits in to the reader being able to pick out components of real love; what to do and what not to do. Faulkner likewise inserts the word increased practically back to back in the story, to explain the color of rose; “Upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights” (522 ).

Due to the fact that this remains in the last section when they find the hair of Emily’s hair beside Homer’s dead body, I think this simply strikes house the love that Emily had for Homer, and how her troubled mind and relationship she had with her daddy to her alienation from society caused her to love in this way. Dust is another sign seen from the start of the story; “It smelled of dust and disuse” (517 ). When something is dusty, it is because it has been neglected and not used in some time. In this story, dust represents the quantity of time that passes through this story and the lifelessness nd conservation of the characters. When Emily passed away, the narrator describes that she “Fell ill in your home filled with dust and shadows” (521 ). After a good understanding of what happens in the story, I would now like to raise the southern gothic fiction motion and literature that supports this story. Southern Gothic Fiction is specified as “a style of writing practiced by numerous authors of the American South whose stories set in that region are characterized by monstrous, macabre, or fantastic incidents” (Moore, Southern Gothic Fiction).

Southern Gothic Fiction was prominent from the 1920’s through the 1960’s. As stated previously, this story happens in the American Deep South in a town called Jefferson. It is obvious that “A Rose For Emily” by Faulkner is certainly a part of Southern Gothic Fiction because of the way it checks out the “social concerns and cultural character of the American South” (Moore, Southern Gothic Fiction), as well as the brilliant and detailed 4 5 language utilized, and the interest that surface areas in Emily Grierson, this “deeply flawed or disturbed” (Moore, Southern Gothic Fiction) character.

After examining “A Rose For Emily” by William Faulkner, it is much easier to see how the out of order plot works in sequential order, the battle and “tragedy”, as Faulkner states, that Emily endures, and the different ways not to enjoy somebody. Emily is the way that she is due to the fact that of the toll her dad took on her and her father is all she understood. When she lost him, she lost herself and spiraled downwards into psychological instability. She thought that she did not have to change her ways and what she had gotten was hers forever, nothing would change it. Possibly Emily required that rose, to see the more gorgeous things in life. 5

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