Denying the Facts in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

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What is one’s life when they refuse to accept the reality of a life that is changing and continuing on in a forward motion? In William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, he conveys the struggle that roots from the inability to realize what is unchangeable. Emily Gierson lives in a “timeless vacuum” and stays firmly planted in a subjective realm of time. Faulkner portrays emotions of love and realism through the characteristics of Emily. Due to a strong passionate love for the people in her life, Emily stays committed to the past and “attempts to exert power over death by denying the fact of death itself.” Emily is viewed as a monument in the town of Jefferson, much like the plantation home in which she lives. Though Emily was a “vibrant and hopeful young girl,” she has changed into a secretive old woman. Her apprehension of being alone has caused her to lose touch with the outside world. Emily is a mysterious woman who faces an unceasing battle of letting love over power her to the extent where it is virtually impossible to accept reality.
William Faulkner wrote A Rose for Emily in five different parts. The story begins with a description of Emily’s funeral and then moves into the “near-distant past.” Rather than writing this story in a chronological fashion, Faulkner shifts and manipulates time by stretching the story over several decades. We learn about Emily’s life through flashbacks. However, because the town of Jefferson is the narrator of the story, the reader is limited to only what the town knows. Faulkner wrote this story as if it were in a cloud of dust; many things are not clear. He once said: “given a choice between grief and nothing, I would chose grief.” Although this story is not about him, he details the loneline...

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Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily ." In An Introduction to Literature , by William Burto, William E.Cain Sylvan Barnet, 448-459. Pearson Longman , 2006.
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