\Miss Emily Grierson, the main character in Williams Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” removes herself from society and becomes a total recluse, refuses to progress with the passing of time, murders her lover, but continues to sleep with his corpse until her dying day. The behavior presented in Emily is a sign of mental illness. Throughout the story, Emily’s mental instability becomes apparent through her character. The house that she was raised in and died in, and the love she had for dead bodies lead to her mental illness eventually causing her death.
Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Literature: An Introduction To Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. 3rd Compact Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2003. 74-79.
“A Rose for Emily” takes place in Jefferson, Mississippi. The time span of the story of this troubled young woman’s life stretched over forty years, from 1875-1920. “A Rose for Emily” is a fictional story, like most of William Faulkner’s works. In A Rose for Emily, Emily represents the old south. Emily had many traditional beliefs. In my paper I will be writing about how the town reacted to her keeping her father’s body after he passed away, how the town reacted to Emily killing Homer, and if they thought she was guilty of murder or insane. William Faulkner uses “A Rose for Emily” to show how the south reacted to modern times.
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.
Symbolism appears early on it the story. Jefferson is at a crossroad of embracing a modern, more future like generation while still wanting preserve the southern traditions. In the beginning of the story the house that’s described is portrayed as symbols of old tradition in the south trying to survive. The fact that the house was built in the 1870s tells us that Miss Emily's father must have been doing pretty well for himself after the Civil War. The narrator's description of it as an "eyesore among eyesores"CITE. The house was once described as once a beautiful estate in the nicest neighborhood in town, now its run down, smelly and uninviting. The house is also a huge symbol of the isolation Miss Emily experiences.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a thought-provoking short story which explores Emily’s Grierson’s indomitable spirit as she stubbornly resists change and clings to tradition in a world which is being rapidly engulfed by progress. Faulkner explores Emily’s placid stand through symbolism, characterization, and conflict.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” illustrates the struggle that comes from trying to maintain tradition in a world that is always expanding and changing its views on everything (SparkNotes Editors). The city of Jefferson, the setting, is at a crossroads of moving towards a modern future much different from the archaic views from before the Civil War. Emily’s house is the last relic of the dying world of Southern aristocracy. She and her home are still lingering in the past and unwilling to change with the community it is in. Through flashback, symbolism, and allusion, Faulkner is able to show Emily as she relates to the theme of this short story. During the period of publication, this short story could relate to those still struggling with trying to live post Civil War and go along with the change in times unlike Emily.
Later on, the author gets to the time when her father just died. Miss Emily felt so alone that she decided to keep her dead father’s body in the house, and not let anyone take him away from her. After the neighbors kept coming to the city council and complaining about the fowl smell that was coming from miss Emily’s house, the judge sent a few men to put lime around the house to kill the smell. As the reader later finds out, the smell was coming from miss Emily’s father’s decaying body. Finely the authorities took the dead body out of the house and buried it. As the story goes on, the reader is told that the town was being renovated, streets being paved and such. With the renovators, came a young man, by the description, he was a handsome young man. The town kept talking as they always did, gossiping about miss...
Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily" Literature A Pocket Anthology. Ed.4 R.S. Gwynn New York
Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Shorter 5th ed. Ed. R.V.Cassill. New York: W.W. Norton & Comp., 1995.
William Faulkner’s "A Rose for Emily" is perhaps his most famous and most anthologized short story. From the moment it was first published in 1930, this story has been analyzed and criticized by both published critics and the causal reader. The well known Literary critic and author Harold Bloom suggest that the story is so captivating because of Faulkner’s use of literary techniques such as "sophisticated structure, with compelling characterization, and plot" (14). Through his creative ability to use such techniques he is able to weave an intriguing story full of symbolism, contrasts, and moral worth. The story is brief, yet it covers almost seventy five years in the life of a spinster named Emily Grierson. Faulkner develops the character Miss Emily and the events in her life to not only tell a rich and shocking story, but to also portray his view on the South’s plight after the Civil War. Miss Emily becomes the canvas in which he paints the customs and traditions of the Old South or antebellum era. The story “A Rose For Emily” becomes symbolic of the plight of the South as it struggles to face change with Miss Emily becoming the tragic heroin of the Old South.
Kurtz, Elizabeth Carney. "Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily'". Explicator. Heldref Publications. 44.2 (1986): 40. Academic Search Complete. Blinn College, Bryan, Lib. 18 Oct. 2007
Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily". An Introduction to Literature, 11th ed. Ed. Barnet, Sylvan, et al. 287-294.