Snapshots of Miss Emily in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily
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Snapshots of Miss Emily in A Rose for Emily
“A Rose for Miss Emily” by William Faulkner is a story of quiet lonliness and tragedy. The story ends on a surprising note, but one for which the reader is not totally unprepared. Faulkner very cleverly uses changing pictures of Miss Emily’s physical state to give the reader a clue as to what is transpiring inside her.
The picture or “tableau” of Emily in her childhood gives us our first clue into her strange personality. She is “a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door.” The scene almost blatantly reveals Emily in her youth, constrained by a wildly over-protective father. Her natural attempts to leave home and have relationship with the outside world are thwarted by a dark, mean, even evil-spirited father who refuses to let her leave.
Our next view of Miss Emily is some time after her father dies. “Her hair is cut short,” Faulkner tells us. The strength...