Mind the Sun in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

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The beast in a human is subdued by our milquetoast delusions, we are animals of compulsion and repetition. It seems to me the point of art is to explore the idea of humanity as a whole, mankind’s view of itself and the artist’s own concept of humanity. William Faulkner is one such artist who delves deeper into his own ideals, almost breaching the membrane of technicalities before exploiting them on an atomic level, too close to see everything the writer aimed for. His story A Rose for Emily, despite it’s macabre subject, persists as a tremendous exemplification of how the happenings found in the story’s subjects and in reality adhere to the essences of humanity. These ideals particularly conform in his acceptance speech for his winning of The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949, at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm, in which he says that “The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice, which have been the glory of his past.”
Certain parties may be questioning the validity of the connection between that quote and a story about an agoraphobic woman lonely to the point of hostility. Yet, as it is still a story of horror and tragedy, it is a prime example of his writer’s code, primarily those tenants of compassion, pride and pity. The reader feels compassion for the woman at first, which then grows into pity as she becomes a monster starved of pride. Even his fictitious “Jefferson” carries the setting of an average town whose culture is partway stuck in the past. Anybody who says depravity is not in the nature of human spirit must then be calling themselves inhuman...

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...cal and military work. But this story, even this essay is not about the hideous sides of us, the glorious abominations, as Hunter Thompson put it when describing his Samoan friend: One of god’s own prototypes, a high-powered mutant never considered for mass production; too weird to live, and too rare to die.” Very few can be seen as Daniel Plainview, seeing the worst in people at any moment while falling host to the things we detest. This story is about looking past that and still learning from it without dwelling on it too harshly, touching on another facet of his speech, that of hope and integrity. This touches right at Faulkner’s self-professed heart as he told it in Stockholm, the doubtless natures of us all, the importance of the individual and the collectivity of mankind to rise far above this miasma of decay and perhaps, just once, we shall touch the sun.

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