In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily” Miss Emily Grierson holds on to the past with a grip of death. Miss Emily seems to reside in her own world, untarnished by the present time around her, maintaining her homestead as it was when her father was alive. Miss Emily’s father, the manservant, the townspeople, and even the house she lives in, shows that she remains stuck in the past incapable and perhaps reluctant to face the present.
At the beginning of the story, the reader learns that Miss Emily “is portrayed as ’a fallen monument,’… because she has shown herself susceptible to death (and decay) after all” (West 264). The house can also be perceived as a “fallen monument”(Faulkner 81) as the narrator proceeds to describe the house, magnificent as it once was, and how it has become dilapidated through the years. The same can be said about Miss Emily, as time passed she “looked bloated like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue”(Faulkner 82).
In her younger days however, she was “a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her clutching a horsewhip”(Faulkner 83).
One of the many indications that Miss Emily is stuck in the past is her refusal to accept that her father is dead after holding on to his body for three days. “She wants to keep him as she has known him instead of allowing him to return to dust”(Kurtz 40). Miss Emily’s father had such an impact on her life, that she was left powerless in every aspect, thus her decision to live in the past where she knew she could be in control.
The reader also learns that Miss Emily continued to retain a manservant long after slavery had ended. This “old m...
... middle of paper ...
... Among them lay a collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust. Upon a chair hung the suit, carefully folded, beneath it the two mute shoes and the discarded socks. The man himself lay in the bed… Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron- gray hair.(Faulkner 86-87)
Up to the very end of Miss Emily’s life, her father was in the foreground watching and controlling, and Miss Emily unrelentingly held on to the past. She went as far as keeping a loved one’s body locked upstairs in her home for years. While admiring her loved one’s body from up close and afar, she managed to maintain a death grip on the past.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Scrambling of Time in Faulkner's A Rose for Emily In, A Rose for Emily, Faulkner uses the element of time to enhance details of the setting and vice versa. By avoiding the chronological order of events of Miss Emily's life, Faulkner first gives the reader a finished puzzle, and then allows the reader to examine this puzzle piece by piece, step by step. By doing so, he enhances the plot and presents two different perspectives of time held by the characters. The first perspective (the world of the present) views time as a "mechanical progression" in which the past is a "diminishing road." The second perspective (the world of tradition and the past) views the past as "a huge meadow which... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
1502 words (4.3 pages)
- "A Rose for Emily" is a short story written by William Faulkner. This story takes place in Faulkner 's fictional city, Jefferson, Mississippi, in Yoknapatawpha County. "Young Goodman Brown" is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This story takes place during the 17th century and discusses the Puritan belief that all of humanity exists in a state of corruption, except those who are fortunately born into a state of grace. In “A Rose for Emily,” Emily’s house is a commemoration of the only remaining emblem of a dying world of Southern aristocracy.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown]
752 words (2.1 pages)
- By using strong characterization and dramatic imagery, William Faulkner introduces us to Miss Emily Grierson in “A Rose for Emily”. The product of a well-established, but now fallen family, Emily plays common role found in literature- a societal outcast, who earns her banishment from society through her eclectic behavior and solitary background. Often living in denial and refusing to engage with others, Emily responds to her exile by spending the remainder of her life as a mysterious recluse that the rest of society is more content to ignore rather than break social customs to confront her.... [tags: fallen families, modern standards]
1062 words (3 pages)
- "A Rose for Emily" is a wonderful short story written by William Faulkner. It begins with at the end of Miss Emily’s life and told from an unknown person who most probably would be the voice of the town. Emily Grierson is a protagonist in this story and the life of her used as an allegory about the changes of a South town in Jefferson after the civil war, early 1900's. Beginning from the title, William Faulkner uses symbolism such as house, Miss Emily as a “monument “, her hair, Homer Barron, and even Emily’s “rose” to expresses the passing of time and the changes.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1032 words (2.9 pages)
- A Rose for Emily tells the tale of a lonely woman named Emily Grierson and the events that occur since her father died up and up until her death. The unique thing about this story is that it isn’t told in chronological order. Faulkner transitions from the past to the present all throughout the story. The events being out of order make the story more interesting and it also creates suspense. The audience might be confused at times but at the end of the story everything adds up and makes sense. I think that if Faulkner had told it in chronological order it would have been boring and predictable.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
885 words (2.5 pages)
- Clinging to the Past in Faulkner's A Rose for Emily The end of the American Civil War also signified the end of the Old South's era of greatness. The south is depicted in many stories of Faulkner as a region where "the reality and myth are difficult to separate"(Unger 54). Many southern people refused to accept that their conditions had changed, even though they had bitterly realized that the old days were gone. They kept and cherished the precious memories, and in a fatal and pathetic attempt to maintain the glory of the South people tend to cling to old values, customs, and the faded, but glorified representatives of the past.... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
1553 words (4.4 pages)
- Past Contrasted with Present in Faulkner's A Rose for Emily In "A Rose for Emily", Faulkner contrasted the past with the present era. The past was represented in Emily herself, in Colonel Sartoris, in the old Negro servant, and in the Board of Alderman who accepted the Colonel's attitude toward Emily and rescinded her taxes. The present was expressed chiefly through the words of the unnamed narrator. The new Board of Aldermen, Homer Barron (the representative of Yankee attitudes toward the Griersons and thus toward the entire South), and in what is called "the next generation with its more modern ideas" all represented the present time period (Norton Anthology, 2044).... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
980 words (2.8 pages)
- Emily Grierson Living in the Past in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily In "A Rose for Emily," by William Faulkner, Emily Grierson seems to be living with her father in what people referred to as the old South. However, most of the story takes place after the Civil War, but Miss Emily is clearly living in the past. As critic Frederick Thum pointed out, "Many people are able to survive in the present, but give little or no thought to the future, and these people usually live in the past. Such a mind is the mind of Miss Emily Grierson..."(1). Miss Emily's comprehension of death, her relationship with the townspeople, and her reaction toward her taxes are clear examples that she is li... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
1584 words (4.5 pages)
- William Faulker’s "A Rose for Emily", is a story told from the viewpoint of a resident of the town which Emily was, born, raised, and eventually died in. There is a very dark and ominous feel to this story, which mainly revolves around death. The story takes place in the south, where at the time, slaves were newly emancipated and things are taking to quite a change. Even though the Gierson family was very powerful and well known, nothing could have been done to save Ms. Emily. As generations passed you could clearly see that the town was undergoing a great change, in which Emily was not ready for.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1740 words (5 pages)
- Plot summary "A Rose for Emily" is a short story divided into five sections: Section one opens with a description of the Grierson home and its setting in Jefferson. The narrator mentions that over the past 25 years Miss Emily’s home has fallen into despair and become "an eyesore among eyesores." The first sentence of the story sets the tone of how the citizens of Jefferson felt about Emily: "When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to the funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years.” The... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1024 words (2.9 pages)