Essay about Theme of Isolation in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

Essay about Theme of Isolation in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

Length: 1054 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Theme of Isolation in A Rose for Emily

As an author establishes the characters he simultaneously attempts to develop the theme of the story. An author uses various elements such as point of view, the setting, and symbols to work toward the expression of one central idea. In looking at "A Rose for Emily." a short story by William Faulkner, it is evident that Faulkner successfully carries one main idea throughout the piece, the idea of being isolated from society.

One of the most effective elements that Faulkner uses in his development of this main idea is the use of imagery. He portrays the father of Emily as "a looming possessive figure, a figure of total control and dominance"(Gwin 31). Emily has no say about what goes on in her life. The narrator describes the image of the two.

We had long thought of them as tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the backflung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.

The description in this quotation leaves to conjure up the image of the father keeping Emily down and at home with him. Through his selfishness he isolates her from the rest of "normal" society, separating Emily from other girls her age, denying her of the joy and pleasures experienced by most of her peers.

Faulkner uses the death of her father as a symbol to bring to the forefront a harsh realization for Emily, the fact that she was now truly alone. This has come about through no...

... middle of paper ...

...ere was a constant conflict within her between the duty of obeying and honoring her father's will that she remain isolated from society and her longing to live life on her own terms and to play a part in normal society no matter how small that part may have been. Unfortunately for Emily, that conflict was never resolved. Even in death her father was pleased that Emily died a lonely and withdrawn frail woman, just as he taught her to be.

Works Cited and Consulted

Backman, Melvin. Faulkner: The Major Years, A Critical Study. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966

Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X.J. Kennedy. New York: Harpers Collins, 1991. Pp. 24-31

Gwin, Minrose c. The Femenine and Faulkner: Reading (Beyond) Sexual Difference. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1990

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Interpretations of William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily Essay

- Interpretations of William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" has been interpreted in many different ways. Most of these rely solely on hints found within the story. I believe that his life can also help one analyze this story. By knowing that Faulkner's strongest influence was his independent mother, one can guess that Miss Emily Grierson's character was based partly on Maud Falkner. William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi on September 25, 1897....   [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]

Free Essays
1529 words (4.4 pages)

Isolation in A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner Essay

- The main themes of A Rose for Emily are isolation and loneliness, tradition versus present, and the gap between generations. The story is about a woman whose life has been filled with apathy and sympathy. In this story, Emily isolates herself from society, due to events from her past. Excessive isolation can cause loneliness in anyone's life. In A Rose for Emily, the author seems to describe that such isolation can cause someone to do appalling acts. Miss Emily has a hard time adjusting to the present time era....   [tags: Loneliness, Hermit]

Strong Essays
1079 words (3.1 pages)

A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner Essay

- We as humans like to believe that the less you reveal, the more people can wonder. A true mystery in the making, "A Rose for Emily" is a gothic psychological tale depicting the cauldron of feelings one accumulates after committing a crime. William Faulkner writes this short story unlike most, portraying the effect of multiple narrators, while the point of view represents the consciousness of the town, which is not evident until later in the story. Another critical point to understanding the mystery behind "A Rose for Emily" is that it is not written chronologically....   [tags: William Faulkner, Short story, Joyce Carol Oates]

Strong Essays
1155 words (3.3 pages)

A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner Essay example

- Research Paper: A Rose for Emily William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily” tells the story of Miss Emily Grierson’s abnormal life. “A Rose for Emily” contains a number of different themes, each of which can be interpreted differently between readers. Through evidence found through out the short story scholars are able to break down the story to find the primary themes. The three main themes are death, the past and the present, and community vs. isolation. According to the “A Rose for Emily” overview done by Short Stories for Students, “death is prevalent, both literally and figuratively, in ‘A Rose for Emily’”(5)....   [tags: Short story, William Faulkner, Death, Sartoris]

Strong Essays
1438 words (4.1 pages)

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner Essay

- “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is a southern gothic story first published in 1930. The story of Emily Grierson’s life parallels the struggle the South faced when breaking away from its antebellum past into modernity. The story is narrated collectively by the citizens of Jefferson—a seemingly average small southern town. The narrator tells the story of Emily Grierson—the town reclusive eccentric who died before accepting the changes brought forth from the post-civil war south. Emily Grierson is seen as a hereditary obligation by the town’s citizens....   [tags: Literary analysis]

Strong Essays
1366 words (3.9 pages)

Conflicts in A Rose For Emily" By William Faulkner Essay

- A Rose For Emily is a short story that was written in 1930, by William Faulkner. It is considered to be among the greatest piece of literature that has been interpreted many times. This is a story about the life and death of the protagonist Emily Grierson. The story is arrayed in five sections. First, it starts with the death of the protagonist, and her encounter with the tax officials when they came to inquire bout her tax payment. Next, is her father’s death followed by Emily going to a local store to buy poison for an unknown reason that the author conceals....   [tags: Faulkner, Grierson, literature]

Strong Essays
1351 words (3.9 pages)

Comparison between The Yellow Wallpaper and A Rose for Emily

- ... Their escape from the current world is directly from their feelings of repression which leads to them to be physically isolated. In “A Rose for Emily”, Emily spent all her time shut inside her house, which is symbol of her downgrading physical condition. Other than her changing appearance, the townspeople’s attitude also alters after her father’s death and they treat her as "a tradition, a duty and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town" (Faulkner, 139). Besides her father’s disapproving outlook of Emily’s marriage, the community also disagree with the idea of Emily having someone new in her life....   [tags: Charlote Perkins, William Faulkner]

Strong Essays
964 words (2.8 pages)

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner Essay

- A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner In "A Rose for Emily", Emily, a lady of a noble origin, finds herself alone in small town in the Old South. The townspeople there turn their back on her because of her origin, although they have always been present at all of the events that marked her life, until the day she died. Emily's social isolation is evident through the development of the elements of character and events. The main reason that led the locals to isolate Emily was the fact that she came from a respectable and prestigious family, in a time where most of the people were poor....   [tags: American Literature]

Strong Essays
1000 words (2.9 pages)

Faulkner's A Rose for Emily Essay

- 1. - Theme. 2. - Conflicts, tensions and ambiguity. 3. -Symbolism. 4. - Narrative elements: point of view, tone and narrative structure. 1. - Theme. The main theme of the Faulkner's short story is the relationship between the past and present in Emily Grierson, the protagonist. She did not accept the passage of time throughout all her life, keeping everything she loved in the past with her. The story shows Emily's past and her family story. This information explains her behaviour towards time. Firstly, her father's lack of desire to move on into the future and his old-fashioned ways kept Emily away from the changing society and away from any kind of social relationship: "None of the young m...   [tags: American Literature William Faulkner]

Strong Essays
2362 words (6.7 pages)

A Rose for Emily Essay examples

- A Rose for Emily In “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner’s symbolic use of the “rose” is essential to the story’s theme of Miss Emily’s self-isolation. The rose is often a symbol of love, and portrays an everlasting beauty. The rose has been used for centuries to illustrate an everlasting type of love and faithfulness. Even when a rose dies, it is still held in high regard. Miss Emily’s “rose” exists only within the story’s title. Faulkner leaves the reader to interpret the rose’s symbolic meaning....   [tags: essays papers]

Strong Essays
1061 words (3 pages)