The Destruction of Emily in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

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"Respectful affection for a fallen monument" (Faulkner 145). Miss Emily was a lady portraying the pure essence of Southern refinement. This idol could not be understood or related to but simply uphold without question. Her way of life was not one of struggle but of status. She was lost in her own reality of the present, still as a rose frozen in time. This woman, the delicate flower of the community, was lost in her own perception and belief of the world. Emily was given compassion without request due to her label and status of being a lady that eventually contributed to her own destruction.

"Emily is exempted from the general indictment because she is a real lady-that is, eccentric, slightly crazy, obsolete, a ‘stubborn and coquettish decay,’ absurd but indulged; ‘dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse’; indeed, anything and everything but human" (Fetterley 195). In order to be a woman in the South, one must be of a certain character. Any form of decay cannot tarnish this role or character unless you wish to retreat from the consistent status presented to you. Emily was a true incarnation representing the scale that originates in classism. Her character, however, engulfed the women and led the innocence to death in life itself. This immortal figure was a constant shadow hanging over an area of confusion and tradition. A tradition, which allowed Emily to fall deeper into the abyss of retreat and unconsciousness until reality was seen as a complete dream, filled with foolishness.

In the community eye Emily’s life was one of normal progression, but no one really knows the truth behind closed doors. "Nobody sees Emily. And because nobody sees her, she can literally get away with murder" (Fetterley 195). How sho...

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... was evident considering she died when her father or controller passed on into the future leaving Emily to fend in the present or dwell in the past.

Works Cited

Brooks, Cleanth. "On A Rose for Emily". Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York:

Harper College, 1989. 190-191.

"Comments on A Rose for Emily". Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Harper

College, 1989. 189-190.

Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily". The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Carl E. Bain. New

York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1995. 145-150.

Fetterley, Judith. "A Rose for A Rose for Emily". Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New

York: Harper College, 1989. 193-196.

West, Ray B. Jr. "Atmosphere and theme in A Rose for Emily". Readings on William Faulkner. Ed.

Bruno Leone. San Diego: Greensboro Press, 1991. 65-73.
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