Even the casual reader of William Faulkner will recognize the element of time as a crucial one in much of the writer's work, and the critical attention given to the subject of time in Faulkner most certainly fills many pages of criticism. A goodly number of those pages of criticism deal with the well-known short story, "A Rose for Emily." Several scholars, most notably Paul McGlynn, have worked to untangle the confusing chronology of this work (461-62). Others have given a variety of symbolic and psychological reasons for Emily Grierson's inability (or refusal) to acknowledge the passage of time. Yet in all of this careful literary analysis, no one has discussed one troubling and therefore highly significant detail. When we first meet Miss Emily, she carries in a pocket somewhere within her clothing an "invisible watch ticking at the end of [a] gold chain" (Faulkner 121). What would a woman like Emily Grierson, who seems to us fixed in the past and oblivious to any passing of time, need with a watch? An awareness of the significance of this watch, however, is crucial for a clear understanding of Miss Emily herself. The watch's placement in her pocket, its unusually loud ticking, and the chain to which it is attached illustrate both her attempts to control the passage of the years and the consequences of such an ultimately futile effort.
The idiom of having something or someone "in one's pocket," that is, under one's personal control, is important here, for by wearing the watch in her pocket rather than, say, pinned to her bodice, Emily demonstrates her effort to subjugat e the clock to her own will. In staring down the aldermen who have come about the taxes, ...
... middle of paper ...
...for what is new to us, we soon learn, is not new to Miss Emily. Repeatedly, she has attempted to control time, to fix people and events in the past, and the stru cture of the story mirrors this. Also, since the story begins and ends, more or less, with Emily's funeral (the events of her life being presented to us in a series of flashbacks), very little actual time passes in the course of the narrativ e. By telling her story after her death, Faulkner shows that, in the only way possible, time now stands still for her. Thus this one small detail, the hidden yet constantly ticking watch, becomes a symbol for the horror and futility that are Emily Grierson.
Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Collected Stories. New York: Vintage, 1977. 119-30.
McGlynn, Paul. "The Chronology of `A Rose for Emily.'" Studies in Short Fiction, 6 (1969): 461-62.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The reason I chose to analyze “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is because I am a lover of suspense and terror. The story totally caught my attention because the general tone is one of violence, gloom, and terror. The setting also plays an important role because it gives the reader a better understanding of the different situations. The main character, Emily, plays the role of a tragic figure that seems to be seen only from the outside. Sometimes people judge others from the outside, but they do not realize about the inside of the person.... [tags: William Faulkner, Literary Analysis]
1051 words (3 pages)
- The most common technique that is used throughout the story of “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner would be symbolism. Emily Grierson, an interesting character who shows to be stubborn when she is requested to do such task that she feels are beyond her capabilities. “When the gentlemen came to her door to collect her taxes Emily said, ‘See Colonel Sartoris, I have no taxes in Jefferson’.” By Miss Emily not lonely being rude but also cold hearted towards others she has made herself separated from the townspeople, “I have no taxes in Jefferson…Tobe.... [tags: the townspeople, secrets]
1585 words (4.5 pages)
- The Role of Chronology in Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and Faulkner's A Rose for Emily Chronology is the sequence of time as it occurs in events. The chronology of a story is important in order for the reader to understand the work of literature. Many stories, such as "The Yellow Wallpaper" written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, have chronological events that happen in sequence, in order of the time they happened. Other stories, such as "A Rose for Emily" written by William Faulkner, have complicated chronologies.... [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]
1220 words (3.5 pages)
- The Role of Women in Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Play Gertrude and Ophelia, the only two women in Hamlet, reflect the general status of women in Elizabethan Times. Women were suppressed by the males in their lives (brothers, fathers, and partners) and were always inferior. Ophelia and Gertrude have little or no power due to restricted legal, social and economic rights that were found in Elizabethan society. The male characters in Hamlet reflect this sexist view point, represented by Hamlet’s judgement that “frailty, thy name is woman”.... [tags: Papers Females Shakespeare Oppression]
2037 words (5.8 pages)
- People often stick to tradition, but does that mean tradition is proper. Throughout time, many things in life change, but sometimes things stay preserved. The past is the past and cannot be altered, but things can become spoiled, whether by nature or by man. Gender representation has come a long way in the past few hundred years. To this day life is still not equal for either group. The genders have portrayed for millenniums certain duties and created imageries people associate with both, and will not go away overnight or in a century, possibly not even in a millennium.... [tags: a rose for emily, william faulkner]
860 words (2.5 pages)
- William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" As any reader can see, " A Rose for Emily" is one of the most authentic short stories by Faulkner. His use of characterization, narration, foreshadowing, and symbolism are four key factors to why Faulkner's work is idealistic to all readers. The works of William Faulkner have had positive effects on readers throughout his career. Local legends and gossip trigger the main focus of his stories. Considering that Faulkner grew up in Mississippi, he was very familiar with the ways of the South.... [tags: William Faulkner Rose Emily Essays]
1538 words (4.4 pages)
- Analysis of A Rose For Emily “A Rose for Emily”, by William Faulkner, begins and ends with the death of Miss Emily Grierson, the main character of the story. In the story William Faulkner uses characterization to reveal the character of Miss Emily. Faulkner divided the story “into five sections, the first and last section having to do with the present, and the now of the narration, with the three middle sections detailing the past” (Davis 35). Faulkner expresses the content of Miss Emily’s character through physical description, through her actions, words, and feelings, through the narrator’s direct comments about her, and through the actions, words, and feelings of other characters.... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
1295 words (3.7 pages)
- Symbolism and Theme in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily In William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily," a series of interconnected events collectively represent a single theme in the story. Symbolism is the integral factor involved in understanding the theme. "A Rose for Emily's" dominant theme is the search for love and security, a basic human need which can be met unfavorably in equivocal environments. Faulkner's use of symbolism profoundly develops the theme of the story, bringing to light the issues of morality that arise from a young woman's struggle to find love.... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
1470 words (4.2 pages)
- Importance of Setting in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily Setting is place and time, and often provides more than a mere backdrop for the action of a story. William Faulkner uses this device in his complex short story "A Rose for Emily" to give insight into the lonely world of Miss Emily Grierson. Faulkner portrays the townspeople and Emily in the southern town of Jefferson during the late 1800's to early 1900's. The town is more than just the setting in the story; it takes on its own characterization alongside Emily the main character.... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
915 words (2.6 pages)
- “A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner Respect, admiration, and fame from the general public can come at somewhat of a cost. The cost can be anything from a decrease in privacy to an actual effect on ones mental state. In this essay I will use the short story “A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner to describe how general fame, no matter how large or small can be uplifting, but at the same time extremely destructive. Emily is the most renowned lady in the town. Since she carries this type of status there is a strict reputation she must keep.... [tags: A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner]
421 words (1.2 pages)
- New Historicism, Feminist Criticism and Deconstruction in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- Hawthorne's Puritanical Beliefs Revealed in The Scarlett Letter and Young Goodman Brown
- Innocence of Children in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- Effective Punishment in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- The Effective Use of Symbols in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
- Envy of the Procreative Power of Women in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter