“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. Faulkner best uses characterization to examine the theme of the story, we are the products of our environment.
Miss Emily lives for many years as a recluse, as a result of her surroundings. In the story the narrator comments that “no one save an old man-servant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen [the house] in at least ten years” (Faulkner 217). Miss Emily’s father is partly to blame for her life as a recluse. Faulkner’s narrator says that, “We remembered all the young men her father had driven away” (221). Critic Donald Akers notes that:
In the story, Emily’s overprotective, overbearing father denies her a normal relationship with the opposite sex by chasing away any potential mates. Because her father is the only man with whom she has had a close relationship, she denies his death and keeps his corpse in her house until she breaks down three days later when the doctors insist she let them take the body. (2)
Her father robs her from many of life’s necessities. She misses out on having friends, being a normal woman, and her...
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...iversity, Prairie View, TX 8 Nov. 2000 .
Akers, Donald. “A Rose for Emily.” Short Stories for Students. New York: Gale, 1999. 4pp
Literature Resource Center. Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX 21 Nov. 2000 .
Birk, John F. “Tryst beyond Time: Faulkner’s ‘Emily’ and Keats.” Studies in Short Fiction 28.2 (1991): 103-13.
Burduck, Michael L. “Another View of Faulkner’s Narrator in ‘A Rose for Emily’.” The University of Mississippi Studies in English 9 (1990): 209-211.
Crosman, Robert. “How Readers Make Meaning.” College Literature 9.3 (1982): 207-215.
Davis, William V. “Another Flower for Faulkner’s Bouquet: Theme and Structure in ‘A Rose for Emily’.” Notes on Mississippi Writer 7.2 (1974): 34-38.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Best Short Stories of the Modern Age. Ed Douglas Angus. New York: Fawcett World Library, 1968. 217-226.
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