William Faulkner 's A Rose For Emily Essay

William Faulkner 's A Rose For Emily Essay

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Notable Norwegian philosopher Lars Fr. H. Svendsen in A Philosophy of Boredom (2005) wrote that, “self-identity is inextricably bound up with the identity of the surroundings” (Svendsen 143). In this way, it can be reasoned that the complex dynamic of interconnected relationships surrounding the individual, in turn develops a perceived notion of ‘character’ that serves to negate true identity rather than reveal it. This concept is one that easily extends to William Faulkner’s short story, “A Rose for Emily” (2004). Within the text, the constructed description of the central protagonist, Miss Emily, as outlined through the narration of the townspeople, is that of “a slender figure in white” positioned in “tableau” (Faulkner 1350). In the same way that the term ‘construction’ refers to “the creation of an abstract entity,” the descriptors used of ‘white,’ ‘slender,’ and ‘in tableau,’ are likewise, a conceptualization (OED 1). Rather than a realistic depiction of Miss Emily, the imagery creates a contradiction that emphasizes a romanticized visualization of her, and demonstrates the town’s disassociation. Additionally, it is through this misconstruction of characterization that a persona of underlying perversity in Miss Emily’s character is made deceptive to the town. This thematic trend exists within the text through repeated images of isolation. It is also seen in the recurring pattern of action of reversed gender roles, and in symbolic colour imagery used to expose the tension of innocence versus deviance. As such, it is through these elements that the complex nature of Miss Emily becomes more clear and elevates the understanding of the reader.
Repeated images of isolation to reveal a subsequent sense of separation and the confus...


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...n house (a classically male role), while conversely, her male servant, Tobe, does the cooking and cleaning (a classically female position), the town continues to see her as “poor Emily,” someone weak and meant to pity (Faulkner 1352. 1350. 1351). It is not until the end of the text when the murder of Homer Baron is revealed, that the town becomes aware of Miss Emily’s true propensity to control and are forced to re-contextualize their understanding of her (Faulkner 1353). Likewise, by continuing to see Miss Emily through the impressions projected by her father, rather than the elements of contradiction provided, the town solidifies self-deception so as to be inadvertently manipulated away from conceiving the ultimate display of Miss Emily’s power, dominance and degeneracy in character --- the murder of Homer Baron as an act to keep him solely and forever with her.

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