Behavior in William Faulker´s A Rose for Emily

Good Essays
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” (1931) focuses on the conflicts of Emily, a lonely lady who isolates herself in her house from the townspeople. The story is divided into five sections. It begins with a brief first-person description of Miss Emily’s funeral. The story then continues in the narrator’s flashback of Emily’s old-fashioned lifestyle and abnormal behavior throughout the years. When Emily’s father died, she refused to accept her father’s death, and kept the body in her house for three days until she gave it away to the representatives for burial. In the next generation, Miss Emily was dissatisfied with the modern culture because she was obligated to pay her taxes that were exempted from her by Colonel Sartoris. Furthermore, the townspeople complained about Emily’s reeking house. She eventually meets and has a light-hearted relationship with Homer Barron. However, she soon discovers Homer does not want a serious relationship with her, so Emily purchases rat poison to kill Homer. After Emily died, the residents found the decayed body of Homer in her house. The author foreshadows the plot and applies first-person point of view to form the theme, which leads to an understanding of Emily’s behavior.
The story opens with the townspeople attending Emily’s funeral, which informs the audience what happened to Miss Emily before the story developed. The introduction also begins with an exposition of the protagonist. “The men through… respectful affection for a fallen monument” (30) briefly portrays Emily as a legend, and someone who made an impact to the town. Moreover, the opening of the story provides background information about Emily’s lifestyle of happiness to tragedy by using her house that was once “white, decorate...

... middle of paper ...

...) is Emily’s because she became old, which is a symbol of her depression and emotional isolation. In addition, "Emily's need to cling to Homer as she had tried to cling to his father” (Getty) represents Emily’s severe loneliness, and how she is willing to go to have some company. The theme is affective to the reader because isolation is something they come across in his or her life at some point.
What Faulkner may have been getting at in the story was to demonstrate to the audience the relationship between the lonely people, and those that consider themselves “normal”. Furthermore, the message the author is showing to the reader is the importance of understanding and improving along the future generations. Faulkner reveals to the reader that society will not progress if they allow the old generation to have their own way, such as Emily had towards the townspeople.
Get Access