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William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily


William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, is set in a village, and is distinguished the point-of-view of an anonymous member of the community. Emily Grierson, the subject of the short story, is brought up by her imperious daddy, who belonged to a rich clan.

Emily, as is told by the confidential community member, is zealously protected over by her daddy, who turns away each and every single suitor of Miss Emily, as suggested in the lines, “None of the boys were rather sufficient for Miss Emily and such.” (Faulkner) Thus, Miss Emily grows old and single, and is still singular when she lastly dies. This is signified by a lone hair of gray hair on a pillow at the end of the story.

The story has its own rhythm, the events and components jibe together. I was a little disconcerted initially with the obvious disorderly retelling of the occasions, however as I keep reading, I entered into the rhythm of the story. The retelling had a rhythm of its own, its own logic relating to the affiliation of the occasions, and these develop the to the unnerving conclusion, a lot like a snowball event dirt and snow as it rolls down a hill.

I was repulsed by Miss Emily’s secret, that of sleeping with (actually and figuratively, I am too horrified to think about the possibility) a rotting corpse of a dead male. I initially thought about her as a monster, specifically when juxtaposed with her other acts: of purchasing arsenic, which in hindsight is really for Homer Baron; of keeping her dad’s corpse in your home, and declining to let it go. She appeared so monstrous, so inhuman, particularly with her physical description:

Her skeleton was little and spare; maybe that was why what would have been simply plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked puffed up, like a body long immersed in stationary water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, appeared like two small pieces of coal pushed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another … (Faulkner)

Yet, someplace in that loathing, I realized something: beasts are not born; they are made. Frankenstein’s beast, Mr. Hyde, these are imaginary monsters concocted by imaginative writers. These monsters, within the stories, are made by their developers. And I said to myself, “Could Miss Emily be any various?” She may be more human in form than others, but her behavior may be just as monstrous. Yet, no beast wished to be a beast. Frankenstein’s monster looked for a way to transcend his monstrous type. Dr. Jekyll sought to control Mr. Hyde.

Miss Emily, I feel, was molded by her father. When her father was gone, his task was taken over by her community. The community meddled with her affairs, as suggested in the following passages, as when they kept gossiping about her, “In the beginning we were thankful that Miss Emily would have an interest, since the women all stated, ‘Obviously a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day worker.'” or direct intervention such as, “… the girls forced the Baptist minister … to hire her.

He would never ever disclose what took place throughout that interview, but he declined to go back again. The next Sunday they again drove about the streets, and the following day the minister’s other half composed to Miss Emily’s relations in Alabama.”

Living her life constantly in the shadow of invasion, she was required to hold on to the only individuals she felt that she connected with. She selected to keep them for herself, to hide them; perhaps since she felt that these were the only things she can have that other people can not intrude upon. And it is true naturally; death can not be changed or spoiled by anyone.

I still question, was Miss Emily not a victim of her community’s monstrosity instead? Or if she were a man, would she have had a much easier time of it, as the community would leave her alone? If her daddy was not so zealous, would she have been provided a rose as a sign of love in her youth, rather of being provided one as a sign of respect on her coffin?


Faulkner, W. A Rose for Emily. Accessed May 8, 2008, from http://www.ariyam.com/docs/lit/wf_rose.html.

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