William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

For years ,roses have been used to convey messages without words .Whether it be given to the one you love on Valentine’s day ,anniversary ,birthday it can make one feel very special .Roses vary in color ,each color representing a different meaning . A red rose, the lovers rose can signify enduring passion ,white: innocence ,yellow expressing friendship, and the list goes on . One can assume the idea of receiving roses on a joyous occasion ,but after reading William Faulkner's “A Rose for Emily “,one might question what is the importance of a rose .

Upon reading A Rose for Emily the first time around , I was very confused because of the non-chronological sequence of events .

The story begins at the funeral of Miss Emily Grierson .The townspeople are excited to see the inside because no one has been to her house in ten years, except her servant ,Tobe . Ms. Emily’s house is old ,but it was the best house around at a certain point in time .

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The town had a unique relationship with Emily- being that the “newer generation” attempted to bill her for taxes Emily blatantly refused . Ms .Emily lived with her father who was .wealthy and respected by the town .Even though people thought highly of him , he was a manipulative and controlling towards any suitor that came in Emily's life . When he died ,he left her the house but no money . Her father was the only man she ever got close to and trusted so she was in denial for three days after his passing .

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Emily begins dating Homer Barron , a Northerner in town working on a sidewalk project .The town disapproved of this relationship ,so they called Emily's cousins to intervene . Homer left town but after the cousins left Homer returned .After that day he was never seen again.

The town assumed that Emily was planning on killing herself after being seen buying arsenic .They felt it was the right decision because Homer was rumored to be not being the marrying type . After that ,Emily rarely leaves the home except after a half dozen of years when she gives painting lessons . Over the years ,her hair turns gray ,gains weight ,and dies in a downstairs bedroom .Fast forward back to her funeral , Emily's servant leaves the funeral and the townspeople discovers that Homers corpse was rotting in a bed ,with a long gray hair alongside the pillow . The way all of these events unfolded was difficult to grasp, but I gained more clarity after reading the story a second time . I discovered that Faulkner used a variety of literary elements in the story . For instance , foreshadowing is a literary device used to tease readers about the turn of events that will occur later in the story .Foreshadowing was used when the towns people complained about the awful stench coming from Emily’s house .

The women of the town accused Tobe of the smell being that a man didn't have a place in the kitchen. As they are struggling to resolve the issue , they sprinkle lime in hopes to get rid of the smell . The reader is left in suspense in trying to figure out what the smell is ,but it later make sense when Homer’s body is discovered . Faulkner use foreshadowing to present the readers with a unbelievable ending ,but it became evident that Homers death was in the hand of Emily all along . Faulkner also used symbolism to express the significance of certain things in the story. After discussing the story with my classmates, Emily's house was a prominent symbol to the story .Emily's house like herself , was a symbol of the decaying South. Both were once beautiful ,but as Emily grew older and larger the house became deteriorated as well .Emily’s house was a testament of the preservation of tradition ,but it became out of place with the gasoline pumps ,cotton wagons, .The house was out of place just like the Old South’s values were out of place in a changing society .

Emily's hair throughout the story could have represented her sexuality .After her father died ,Emily cut her hair very short ,resembling a little girl .Her girlish appearance could have signified her sexual immutaurity . Her sexuality can be looked upon as frozen ,due to the fact that her father had chased away every suitor. When her hair turns gray , it meant that it was the death of her sexuality . Furthermore ,there was never a physical rose itself ,but the title is symoblic .The symbolism of the rose can be interperted in various ways .Young lovers often give each other roses to express their affections .Emily had many suitors when she was a young beautiful woman and it was inevitable that shed accept a rose from one of them ,but never did .When she met Homer she finally felt as if her desire of true love was going to come true .In fear that he would leave ,she killed him and preserved him in her bedroom ,just as roses can be preserved in a book for memory.

A rose is a prickly flower that can pierce one skins if they are not careful. Therefore people decided to keep their distance. Her arrogant behavior and isolated lifestyle didn't allow anyone from the town to get close to her .Like rose thorns, Emily became dangerous ,mad and delusional .The only person that did get close to her ended up dying upon the blood of Emily's hands, just like the red petals of a rose . A final view of a rose is the symbolism of rebirth or renewal .Ms. Emily died with all of the olds South traditions ,which paved the way for the rebirth of the “New South”. Faulkner could have also given Ms. Emily a rose as a sign of empathy . She led a very miserable and tragic life and saw it appropriate to give her a rose . Ms. Emily never got the chance to receive love, passion ,and affection during her lifetime .Its the respectable thing to do if the author gave her a rose at her death .

Updated: Nov 17, 2022
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William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/william-faulkner-s-a-rose-for-emily-essay

William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily essay
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