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William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

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The short story, “A Rose for Emily,” written by William Faulkner examines the psychological downfall of Emily Grierson, an aristocratic Southern woman, and her inability to cope with changing times. Grierson’s life during her youthful years was filled with an immense amount of tragedy, which left her with the desire to hold as tight as possible to the significant things that brought her happiness. After the death of Emily’s father and the departure of her lover, she finds herself unable to cope with the dramatic change that have occurred in her life, as a result, she goes to extreme measure to ensure her new lover, Homer, never rids of her of the happiness he brings her. Furthermore, Faulkner develops the main character, Emily Grierson as having an obsession with the past due to her father’s death and her abandonment by her former lover, as a result, her obsession leads her killing Homer in order to have him as hers forever.

Faulkner presents Grierson to his audience after she is deceased as his readers are introduced to her at her funeral. He then takes the readers on a journey through her life in order to reveal the events that led to her deciding to kill Homer. However, Faulkner decides to first inform his readers of Grierson’s obsession with the past and inability to accept change that occurs with it. Faulkner informs us that Grierson was a “tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (Faulkner, 998). This is a result of Colonel Sartoris “[inventing] an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily’s father had loaned money to the town” (Faulkner, 998), resulting in Grierson believing she did not have to pay the taxes demanded by the new generation of local government. When the local governme...

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...act on her troubled and sorrow filled past cause her to become obsessed with the past and unable to move forth, however, with the arrival of Homer she finally accomplishes her goal of controlling time through Homer’s death.

Works Cited

Binder, Aubrey. “Uncovering the Past: The Role of Dust Imagery in A ROSE FOR EMILY.” The Explicator 70.1 (2012): 5-7. Academic Search Complete. Web. Retrieved. March 27, 2014.

Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily” The Norton Anthology American Literature, 8th ed. Ed. N. Baym and Robert S. Levine. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2013. 998-1004. Print.

Harris, Paul A. “In Search of Dead Time: Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily.’” KronoScope 7.2 (2007): 169-183. Academic Search Complete. Web Retrieved. April 27, 2014.

Schwab, Melina. “A watch for Emily. (time in William Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily’)” Studies in Short Fiction 28.