William Faulkner wrote the story entitled “A Rose for Emily” and was published in the year 1930. The story tells about a woman named Emily who lived in Jefferson. One day Homer Barron came into their town and Emily falls in love with him, but Homer doesn’t want to marry her. Therefore, she killed him and for 40 years she slept beside with the lifeless corpse of her lover. While interpreting this work of Faulkner, this simply tells us about the childhood, families, sex, race, and obsession in the South American country and the modern world.
He went through the midst into his character’s disposition reconstructing at the same time an entire southern society. The story “A Rose for Emily” represent the role and demands of women a long time ago, and how the people in the society give you a lot of pressures also how they belittle someone’s decisions. Therefore, in my own interpretation we can find the most interesting part of this story if we go through to feminist point of view.
According to Du Fang (2007), this work comments on patriarchal chauvinism, puritan womanhood as well as society’s perception of the female.
I would like to focus on the issue of patriarchal chauvinism, which obviously prevails in the story. This means, according to Du Fang, that it is the father who enjoys the absolute power in deciding every family affair. The author in the story of “A Rose for Emily” represents the powerful tradition in the South which is being family centered.
Where in the long time ago, women who lived in the South were discriminated because men believed that they are the superior among them all and they can do everything unlike women. Emily, one of the main characters, is a woman who lives under the shadow of his father where she can’t decide on her own. As Du Fang (2007) mentioned, the father of Emily, Mr. Grierson, may suggest being harsh, strict and treating his daughter as a possession like when he removes the happiness that Emily could feel. Especially the time when he chased away all the men who wanted to marry his daughter that he never considered the Emily’s desire as a woman that until now his daughter remains in his shadow even on his death. And it leads to Emily to decide not to dispose his father’s corpse for being scared to live alone.
Second thing to discuss is according to Hart (1998), where the South is known as the Bible Belt, the region of the country where the Bible still has a stronghold. Therefore, southerner men believe to their Biblical belief that all the evils and problems in the world are caused by the women. That’s why men remove the freedom of women to fight for their rights as an individual. Women are being discriminated by their capability to do such works in the society. Hence, Emily can be considered as a victim of puritan womanhood because she never lives in her own life. She was a prison in her father’s hands. Also, she controls her desires to not violate the norms and standards imposed on her by the society. Until such time, her father died, and she started to have an affair with Homer. She still receives criticisms from the townspeople for violating her family’s standard. At this point, she does what all females do – she went beyond her limitations, as gender rules imposed by patriarchal social forces. For her, what only counts, is the defense against limitations and protection of her rights as a woman, no matter she was left by her lover.
Throughout the story, she is perceived by the townspeople as a weak and dependent woman. When Mr. Grierson dies, she only lives alone. There will be no one who could take care for her, so the town council decides to free her from paying the taxes of her father’s death. The townspeople began to give her needs by offering Emily for their help and sympathy. For they believe that a woman without a man is helpless. She can’t earn her living as well as to remain mentally well and can’t function properly in the society. And that’s how the society in the story perceives a woman as having nothing.
The work of Faulkner presents the reconstructed panorama of southern society and its faults, and a commentary of a female position and how she interacts in the society. She is taught and forced to live according to the norms, traditions, beliefs, and rules that governing in her town. Disobeying rules can get various of criticisms. Therefore, woman is limited to go through beyond her scope of work. The story “A Rose for Emily” tells us how a woman is considered by her society as a weak, dependent and not self-sufficient.