A Rose for Emily Plot Analysis

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Significant Quote: “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care.”

Plot:

The plot of “A Rose for Emily” shows the later years of the main character, Emily Grierson, with flashbacks to her life interspersed between. It begins with the reader learning of her passing, developing into a story that provides insight in to her reclusive nature and past dealings with family as well as the town of Jefferson. Due to her reclusive nature and high standing in society she is often gossiped about by her fellow townsfolk. Throughout the story, the reader is told about her overbearing father, her reluctance to change her ways for the town of Jefferson, and her new love interest Homer Barron. With hints of foreshadowing and learning about Miss Emily’s past problems with letting her deceased father go, the reader finds the story ending at her funeral with the discovery of the body of Homer Barron kept in her house. Miss Emily did not want to lose her new love, so she poisons him and keeps his body around, letting her maintain a relationship with him even though he has passed on.

Characters:

Emily Grierson – A young southern belle who adored her father and becomes a shut in after his passing. Set in her old ways, she is a constant focus of the town’s gossiping ways due to never leaving her residence and having a list of potential love interests rejected by her father in her younger years. As time goes on she is maintained by her single servant and eventually falls in love with Homer Barron.

Colonel Sartoris – The mayor of Jefferson in the year 1894, Colonel Sartoris is very protective of Miss Emily and even conjures up a story to stop her from paying taxes to the city due to a fictitious series of loans her father made to th...

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...e passage of time and the constant awareness that it is passing. The watch shows that Miss Emily is constantly aware of how much time she has left, and her hair is used by the townsfolk to denote how long it has been since they last saw Miss Emily.

Themes:

Old ways opposed to new ways – Faulkner uses Miss Emily’s reluctance to change in juxtaposition with the town evolving to show a women set in her ways. Her closeted nature is emphasized to show that even though the world is changing, Miss Emily lives in the ways of the past, holding on to what she has always known.

Death – With the passing of Miss Emily’s father, Homer, and herself, Faulkner shows the overpowering nature of death and the fact that no one can escape it. When Miss Emily passes it restates this fact, because it shows that even someone who is a staple of the town will eventually wither and die.
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