The inability to leave the past behind is a reoccurring theme in both the South and in “A Rose for Emily.” “Drawing on the tradition of Gothic literature in America, particularly Southern Gothic, the story uses grotesque imagery an...
William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily” is a story illustrating a womans headstrong resistance to change, and her strives to keep former times alive. Miss Emily’s actions demonstrate the dangers of refusing to accept change, and the consequences of not letting go of the past. Racism may often bygone, but in the deep south, it is not uncommon to encounter. Just as Emily clung to her past and ultimately to her own demise, modern day racism clings to outdated, traditionalistic views; acting as a barrier from the progression and improvements that have come with time.
William Faulkner's, "A Rose for Emily," is a short story that is narrated by an anonymous character to be considered as the voice of the home town and tells the story out of order. The story is based on the life of Emily Grierson and how it connects with the South after the Civil War. There are many parts in the story that show symbolism in varieties of ways. Some of these symbols include Emily's house, her hair, her clothing, and even the "rose" that is brought in the story. Symbolism is shown throughout many different ways through all forms of literature. It is mainly shown through the main theme as well as the smaller themes that are throughout the story. Symbolism is used to represent ideas or qualities through the use of symbols.
Although strings of complex and extraordinary symbolism are vastly prevalent throughout gothic literature, they are most stunningly exhibited in William Faulkner’s seminal work; “A Rose for Emily.” Set only a short time after the American Civil War, “A Rose for Emily” appears to be an epitaph for a respected elderly woman, beginning with the scene of her funeral. As more is revealed about the events leading up to the funeral, however, increasingly sordid details are exposed about Ms. Emily’s personal life, leading to a final, shocking discovery in the last section. Not only is there obvious surface symbolism and simple foreshadowing displayed in the story, but if each character is assigned a symbolic role, an even more poignant and serious tale is told through Faulkner’s masterfully crafted sentences.
The author, William Faulkner, has a collection of books, short stories, and poems under his name. Through his vast collection of works, Faulkner attempts to discuss and bring awareness to numerous aspects of life. More often than not, his works were created to reflect aspects of life found within the south. Family dynamics, race, gender, social class, war, incest, racism, suicide, necrophilia, and mental illness are just some of the aspects that Faulkner explored. In “A Rose for Emily” the aspects of necrophilia and mental illness along with the societal biases that were observed in a small-town setting are seen to be a part of this captivating story. These aspects ultimately intertwine with the idea of insanity that characterizes “A Rose for Emily.
“A Rose for Emily” opens with a line that immediately tells the audience that the main character, Emily Grierson, lived a life that was on display; “When Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral” (Faulkner 119). The voyeurism that is evident throughout the story, following the life of the main character through the perspective of her watchful community, is introduced by the very first line. In Donaldson’s essay, she explains that many classic southern gothic tales “bring attention to the spectacle of a woman” (Donaldson 2), which is precisely what any reader of “A Rose for Emily” will find. Emily Grierson is a spectacle as well as a burden to her community. She is judged based upon her appearance, her actions, oddities and transgressions. Emily is “trapped in the collective gaze like a fly in amber” (Donaldson 3). The story is a tale of a strange woman living under the observant eye of her community. The public makes an activity out of watching the mysterious, confined woman.
In William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily”, the reader observes the life of Emily Grierson. The reader learns about Emily’s life from the townsfolk from her teenage years all the way to Emily’s death from various points in her life. Emily is a person with a possible mental disorder, who struggles with letting go and how it affects Emily’s grasp on past and present. Emily’s life is one that fascinates and captures the reader’s attention and leads to decade’s worth of arguments amongst generations of readers.
Faulkner exposes a very familiar idea in “A Rose For Emily” in a way that is individual and unlike any other story. Had the point of view been from any other perspective, the entire story would have been different and probably wouldn’t create the feeling of mystery that it does. It is the extremely unusual point of view that makes the tone, characters, and central ideas incomparable to other stories.
The definition of denial is “a condition, in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc., is true or real”.-Webster’s Dictionary There are points in our lives in which we are all in denial, and Miss Emily is no exception. In “A Rose for Emily”, a women who has had loveless life falls in love with a man and then he mysteriously vanishes, we learn latter that he died on their wedding and she has kept his body. The author, Faulkner won a Nobel peace award, in his speech he said, “I feel this award was not made to me as a man, but to my.” Through his work of “A Rose For Emily” Faulkner expresses honor, compassion, and pity.
William Faulkner’s Southern background plays a constituent part of the creation of his story “A Rose for Emily”. With his creative mind Faulkner created a county in Mississippi called Yoknapatawpha. Like the southern town he was born and raised in, Faulkner peopled this story with both African American and Caucasian people of the late 1800’s. Faulkner’s idea of writing this story was to focus on the events causing destruction and suffering in one’s inner and outer situations.