“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.
Not only does William Faulkner, the praised wordsmith, lure the reader into his beautiful short story with entrancing sentence and wordplay, but also with expert use of foreshadowing, non-linear plots, historical parallels, and most importantly; deep, potent symbolism which is abundant in every nook and cranny of this story. Even without deeper meanings, this short piece of literature deserves to be a classic, and with them, it’s pushed to an even higher level. “A Rose for Emily” is the classic in the Southern Gothic genre, and to this day no work has come close to its brilliance or perfection.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” was originally published in the April 30th, 1930. It’s quite possibly his most famous, most popular, and most intriguing short story. An unnamed narrator describes the strange circumstances of Miss Emily’s life and her strange relationships with her father, her lover Homer, and the horrible mystery she conceals within the once beautiful but now run down estate she lives in. It’s the south, Mississippi to be exact, and they’ve recently lost the Civil War and soon they are about to struggle with up keeping their southern tradition. Miss Emily who can be considered a classic outsider, transforms from a highly sought after young lady to a grimly secretive old woman. There are many causes that led her to turn out this way. Faulkner uses symbolism as a way to show the read what happened throughout the story.
A fundamental tool which illustrates the tension between the Old South and the New South is symbolism. Two of the primary symbols are the Grierson family home and Miss. Emily herself. Both are symbols of the old South which is experiencing the pressure to change brought on by the Civil War. The South’s lost to the North caused vast economic and cultural changes to the Old South. The house built in the 1870’s on one of the most select streets in Jefferson, represents the economy of the Old South, which was based on plantations, cotton, and slaves. After the war and the freeing of the slaves, the Old South’s economy was broken. The house had been a magnificent white structure complete with cupolas, spires, and scrolled balconies. However, as time passes, the urban sprawl of the New South claims the neighborhood, and the house becomes an “eyesore among eyesore” situated among garages and cotton gins, yet it stubbornly“[lifts] its coquettish decay above the cotton wagon and gasoline pumps” refusing to admit defeat. While Miss. Emily represents the cultural aspects of the Old South aristocracy. Prior to the war a southern lady of her social rank would not have been seen in public with a day laborer. After the Civil War no true southern lady would have been seen in public with a Yankee. However, Miss. Emily forgets noblesse oblige and is often seen in public with Homer Barron, who is ...
“A Rose for Emily” is a short story written by William Cuthbert Faulkner. “A Rose for Emily” takes place after the civil war era, around the same time Faulkner wrote it. Faulkner wrote the story during this time period because he grew up listening to civil war stories told by his elders, mainly his grandfather. These stories his grandfather told him inspired him to write “A Rose for Emily.” The story was written about a woman whom he never married. Faulkner did marry, but it was later in his life because he had to wait ten years for the love his of life to return to him. His wife divorced her first husband ten years after Faulkner proposed to her. She was not allowed to marry him at first because her family did not approve of his social
Madison Cavell Editors. “The role of the townspeople in Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily’. “Madison Cavell Word and Press. N.P., 17 Mar 2014
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.
William Faulkner stories were usually written within the setting of his home town of Mississippi. Posed after the Civil War and with a twist as we see in “A Rose for Emily”. As a matter of fact, this particular story could be Faulkner’s own family with the similarities of the setting and the fact that both Emily’s and Faulkner family lost the influence it once had.
Faulkner, W. (2006). A Rose for Emily. In W. B. Sylvan Barnet, An Introduction to Literature (pp. 449-459). New York: Pearson Longman.
The theme is describe as being a piece of works controlling idea or central insight. When trying to find a theme is a short story or novel, we as the reader must determine what the central purpose is, or in other words, what the author wanted us to get out of the story (Arp 102). In William Faulkners short story, “A Rose for Emily”, the theme is horror.
Faulkner used her strange characteristics to make a claim that a woman is defined her her ability to complete her feminine objectives in society. Otherwise, she is more of an object than a person. This is supported by the story when the townspeople did not see Emily as a person and referred to her death as a "monument falling." The people that knew her, thought of her as something that stands out and doesn’t fit into their normal life. This has to do with her refusal or inability to find a living man and get married, as well as her reclusive nature. The strange thing about her is that she is isolated from the town, yet she is always being watched and talked about by the townspeople. As a woman, she gets gossiped about more than a man under similar circumstances would. She is also seen ridiculed behind her back by the narrator when he or she says that “only a woman could have believed” the far-fetched comment made by Colonel Sartoris about her taxes. The comments and actions by the townspeople exist either for the fact that Emily is a woman or for the fact that Emily does not fit into the defined expectations of the patriarchal society she lives in. If she was a “normal” woman—if she fit better into the society she lived in—the gossip and ridicule she experienced would cease to exist. Faulkner includes this to justify ridicule or gossip about a woman in
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.
The reader sees that the narrator is the ladies of the town on a number of occasions when the words we and I are used in events such as, “People in our town,” (Faulkner 25-2). So when, “Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized. Now she too would know the old thrill and the old despair of a penny more or less.” (Faulkner 25-17) is read, one can conclude that the narrator, as well as the people of the town, believe that Emily Grierson never knew the struggle of money as they did. The narrator is also talking about how beautiful Emily was and goes into vivid detail about her looks at old age not being quite as appealing as her younger years. Another example is when the ladies of the town spread word of Homer and Emily, causing Emily’s cousins, also of upper class; to pay a visit and intrude on Emily’s love