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Analysis of “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

A Rose for Emily is a very good short story written by William Faulkner, this short story uses flash back techniques to draw the immediate attention of the readers. It starts with the funeral of Emily, the antagonist of the story. There is no protagonist in the story as the story is largely based upon the theme of emotional suffering. This paper will throw light upon main personality traits of Emily and how the author has made effective use of the traits displayed by Emily in putting across the theme of the story. Emily’s emotional suffering will also be brought to light in this paper.

“Faulkner’s most famous, most popular, and most anthologized short story, “A Rose for Emily” evokes the terms Southern gothic and grotesque, two types of literature in which the general tone is one of gloom, terror, and understated violence.” (A Rose for Emily).

Traits displayed by Emily

The story starts with the most arresting event, the funeral of Emily. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to the funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years.” (A Rose for Emily).

The character of Emily can be interpreted in more ways than one. Different people will have different stands when it comes to the character interpretation of Emily. According to me she was a victim of the society.

“This tale covers several decades in the life of the protagonist, Emily Grierson.” (A Rose for Emily).

She gets no emotional support whatsoever from the society. She was a spinster and she was restricted from marrying anyone for a large part of her life because of her father. The introduction of Homer makes the story very intriguing. The readers get are convinced by the author that all the suffering of Emily will come to an end when she marries Homer but that does not happen as the story reaches its climax. The traits portrayed by Emily are very typical traits associated with women. She isolated herself from the society; she never spoke to anyone except her Negro servant of which very little is known in the story. She even killed Homer who she loved so much, she was heart broken to know that Homer was interested in men rather than women and he was her last hope to keep her sanity.

The story portrays a very somber theme and William Faulkner has been very successful in connecting the theme with the most important character of the story who without a doubt is Emily. The society could have helped her but the people kept speculating about her future rather helping out with the trauma that she was undergoing.

She was frustrated and in complete despair when she lost her father, her father should have allowed her to look for suitable men to take care of her when he passes away but he was too selfish to do that and inevitably Emily suffered the most because of her father’s selfishness. Many would argue that the assassination of Homer can never be justified but an emotionally broken person is capable of doing almost anything let alone killing the dear ones. Had she married Homer, then it would have been a different story altogether but that did not happen and this is exactly why the story is all about grief and somber.

Emily goes completely insane; there are many examples to prove the same, a classic example of the same is when the tmembers of the tax authority come to her house to collect the dues, she tells them to ask Colonel Sartoris for the advance taxes that she had already paid but she knew very about the death of Colonel which had taken place long back in the story. This goes to show that she was mentally affected by the way people who came in her life behaved with her, the society should have helped her but that was not quite the case and ultimately she died having no relatives and no near and dear ones. The theme of the story largely revolves around the character of Emily and the story only goes to show that emotional satisfaction is a must to avoid insanity and how a person derives the same, depends largely on that individual.

Emotions and Love Life of Emily

Emily was not eccentric as thought by most people instead she needed love and support which she never got from anyone. Her Father never allowed her to date and she failed to find a suitable Groom for herself. She was dejected and emotionally broken, then the twist in the story comes when Homer appears in the story, she goes around with him and believes that he would marry her and the people of her locality believed the same but she was utterly disappointed and emotionally broken again when she realized that Homer was not going to marry her because he was interested in men. She had no control over her emotions and she needed someone desperately to support her and hence she decided to poison Homer, she really can’t be blamed for this because she was emotionally broken. She deserved better in her life, she had no support and without emotional support any person would go crazy. Had Homer married her, things would not have been the same. She would have lived very happily with him but destiny had something else in store for her. So to conclude it is very fair to say that she was misunderstood by the people of her locality and people should have made an attempt to communicate with her to make her normal but no one did so in the story and as a result of which she isolated herself completely from the society.

The Character of Emily and her Emotional Sufferings

“When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to the funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant–a combined gardener and cook–had seen in at least ten years.” (A Rose for Emily). The worth of a person is realized only by the number of people who attend the funeral of that person and Emily certainly was very lucky to have so many people attending her funeral, she was misunderstood by the people of her locality and considered insane by the majority of people in her locality. Emily suffered a lot of in her life and in she hardly speaks in the story, this goes to show that she was in a shock because the person who she loved deserted her. No one came to her house for ten years; she had no social life and never spoke to anyone. She only had her Negro servant at her house to speak to except him she never spoke to anyone in her locality.

“This tale covers several decades in the life of the protagonist, Emily Grierson.” (A Rose for Emily). Her instable mind is presented in the story time and again, a classic example of this is when the tax collectors come to her house to collect taxes she confronts them by telling them to ask Colonel Sartoris about her taxes but in reality Colonel had died 10 years ago and she did not know about this. This goes to show she was completely isolated and cut off from the society. Her father does not allow her to date men because he thought that no man was suitable for Emily, he had a lot of pride and she suffered because of the same when he died. She was left all alone when he died; she had no companion to look after her and to provide her with emotional support.

References

A Rose for Emily. In Mead. Web.

A Rose for Emily. In Cliff Notes. Web.

A Rose for Emily. In Literature Annotations. Web.