A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner Essay

A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner Essay

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In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily”, the reader is immediately introduced to the scene of a funeral for Ms. Emily Grierson, an old woman from a small southern town who has passed away due to old age. The narrator – one of the townspeople who remains anonymous to the reader – recounts the story of Ms. Emily’s life from a young woman to an old spinster. The narrator relates major events thematically throughout the story that have occurred within Emily’s life that have formed her into the woman she is, including the death of her father and the implied abandonment by her lover/fiancée. Through the use of a thematic storyline, the major plot points and the development of Emily’s character, the reader is shown that the power of death is inescapable, always winning over any attempt to stop it. Despite any attempt to thwart death, it can have untold consequences on the mental and emotional state of those affected by death’s grasp.
Faulkner makes death relevant from the beginning to the end of the story through multiple incidents of loss that Emily endures such as her father’s death, her own death, as well as the symbolic death of tradition against modern opinions and ideas. The immediate death of Emily’s father, her only parental figure while she is still a young woman, takes an immense toll on Emily leaving her with a sense of vulnerability and feelings of loneliness. Mr. Grierson exerted constant control over Emily while he was still alive, staying exceptionally loyal to the traditions of the Old South and sheltering her from the outside world. His actions dealt psychological damage onto Emily and his passing leaves her incapable to deal with death or change. “The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at...


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...pected female figure whose charm quickly deteriorated through her life. In Emily’s old age, she is described as a “tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon this town” (Faulkner I), with the townspeople feeling the need to watch over her and monitor her. Emily is the last representative of a one strong Southern family, along with her death is the final collapse of order and tradition within the town.
Ms. Emily Grierson’s death-haunted life has modeled her into the eccentric and mentally ill woman she has come to be, her desire to control even death has manifested itself in grotesque themes of necrophilia when Emily refuses to let go of the bodies of the men in her life. Death is prevalent in this story, unstoppable and uncaring, taking anything it wants and leaving behind the scarred mentality and emotions of the people left in its wake.

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