NOTE! The below paper is just an example written by one of our staff writers. If you need an original summary of “A Rose for Emily” or a paper on a different topic, feel free to place your order.
“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is one of the classics penned down in 1930. This short story appeared in a magazine at first and later rose to fame and glory. Faulkner called his story a “Ghost story” due to the lurid appeal of his piece of writing. In a gist, it can be said that this story depicts the broader ideas and is a marvelous portrait of how rigid social constraints impede the women from progressing. This story depicts anomalous psychology and necrophilia which force the audience to be dallied into the damp and dusty world of Emily Grierson (Perry, 1979).
As stated above, William Faulkner wrote “A Rose for Emily” short story in the 1930’s and there are many recognizable references to that time period. One indication of this is when he mentions the veterans wearing their Confederate uniforms and the fact that Miss Emily had a Negro man servant who probably began as a slave to the family. Emily lived in the town of Jefferson all of her life, where the people of the township assumed she was a snob, one of the stuck-up elite, when they truly did not know the woman at all. Notwithstanding her money, she spent the majority of her life hidden away from society – of her own volition.
William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short account from the point of view of one of the townspeople. When Miss Emily dies, he recounts for his readers the few major incidents in the old woman’s life that had any significant meaning to the people of the township. She rarely spoke to anyone and after having been given freedom from her taxes by the Mayor, refused to pay said taxes for the rest of her life, regardless of the persistent prodding of the elders in the town (A Rose for Emily, 1930).
Characters in A Rose for Emily
The characters in the story “A Rose for Emily” are well-drawn and easy to relate to, although Faulkner’s description of Miss Emily is really the only solid picture given.
Emily Grierson is the object of fascination in this short story. Emily’s stance in this story is that of a muted and mysterious figure, in totality. It can be said that she has been looked upon as the classic outsider and controlling woman by the author. The author has viewed Emily as a woman whose mind inhabits dusty and dark imagination.
Faulkner has depicted Emily as a monument for whom he has two different perspectives to view her. On one hand, the narrator has used the instrument of pity and irritation to describe her, while on the other hand, he has also established a thriller to prove that the woman is a necrophiliac in reality. Although, the author has also portrayed Emily as a strong woman who has the courage to live life according to her own terms and conditions but at the same time she also has a strong desire to overpower others and control them which is the reason that she resorts to kill Homer so as to establish complete control over him.
The narrator has showcased Emily as a woman who lacks stability. He has opined of her to be a traditional monument in herself who is steadfastly staying in the community despite the evolution and the changes that her community has been witnessing at a continual pace (Faulkner, et.al, 1958). She has two sides to her aura where the people wish to respect her due to her being the living tradition to the past while the people also consider her as a burden since she is completely aloof from the rest of the world with certain peculiarities in her character that the other people find it hard to understand.
Emily is a woman with several eccentricities in her behavior. She lives in a world of her own creation and refuses to be at par with the reality or the modern developments taking place around her. For the narrator, Emily is nothing but a drowned woman who is rather a pale and bloated figure in existence, in reality; he has made a reference where he has already portrayed her as a dead corpse. Emily’s necrophilia (sexual orientation towards the dead bodies) is a tad bit strange for her bizarre relationship with the corpses is unusual.
For Faulkner, Emily is the subject of intense gossip for all the people who reside in the town of Jefferson. There are quite a few misinterpretations about Emily in the town for the people who know too less about her. For most of the length of the story, Emily is only seen from a distance by the people. Emily has a murky relationship with the reality and refuses to accept it whatsoever. The protagonist tries to conceal her true nature and keep the secrets about her limited to herself.
Emily is a living example of the perverse things that people do in pursuit of their happiness and her necrophilia is one of such things. In this multilayered prose, Faulkner has depicted Emily Grierson though a complex figure was yet the talk of the town for her eeriness. Many people even monitored the movements of Emily and spied upon her while some people felt obliged to protect her.
Another character of some significance is Homer Barron, who was thought by the town folk to be a man who enjoyed other men’s company as opposed to women. It was obvious at one point that Miss Emily intended to marry him. But then, he disappeared (A Rose for Emily, 1930).
Get professional help with writing a paper on ‘A Rose for Emily’ from our proficient and experienced writers
- Pressed for time?
- Looking for a subject matter expert?
- Need a high-quality, plagiarism-free paper?
William Faulkner’s Style and Tone in A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner’s style and tone are very consistent. Many of his short stories are the simple telling of a tale in plain English. His work is never difficult to understand and he paints a lively picture of the eras, people, and places he uses to tell his stories. A definite master of his craft, William Faulkner gives luscious life to this story as he does all of his writings. While he gives his narrator a tone that is much like the gossip of the ladies in the town he speaks about, approving and disapproving in turn, it is also forgiving and respectful of Miss Emily.
Setting of A Rose for Emily
The setting of a ‘A Rose for Emily’ is basically a small town called Jefferson in the South and a big, old plantation set away from the other residents. The settings for Faulkner’s stories are always elaborate and detailed, while still letting the imagination see the old South as it was during his period. It is easy to picture this town of Jefferson that Faulkner has invented because while it is detailed specifically for his story, it could be any Southern township in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Symbolism in A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner has specifically chosen the title of this story as “A Rose for Emily” due to symbolism that is used throughout the short story. Upon understanding the title step by step, it can be said that “rose” is a symbolism for love in reality. Thus, in this context, the rose represents love that Emily had for Homer Barron. In the lines where the narrator has mentioned, “And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron”, the meaning of the word rose in the title became very evident. It can be perceived that Emily did something to Homer which is quite evident through the discussion that Emily had with the drug store owner that she perhaps bought something that was bigger and more important than killing an ordinary rat.
Emily was seen by others when purchasing arsenic that she was going to kill herself, however, no one thought that she would be murdering Homer Barron in actuality since she could have done anything to spend the rest of her life with Barron who was her “rose”. She deeply loved him and in order to be with him for the rest of her life, she killed him. Thus, the rose has been constantly continued in the story in the form of Homer Barron. Hence, the title is extremely important since it depicts and strings together the story through symbolism. If the story had been named differently, the strength of Emily’s love would not have been noticeable. The rose is thus the biggest symbol of importance in the story.
However, for many people, a rose might simply determine the profundity of love, as in when someone wishes to convey, “I love you”. But in this case, love is simply extreme, as Miss Emily would have done anything just to keep Homer Barron around her for the rest of her life. Hence, the meaning of rose starts to become evident as one begins to read the story further and realizes the profundity of love that Emily had for Homer Barron.
There are also several other images of symbolism in A Rose for Emily story that should be taken into account. For instance, the house she lived in was huge, sprawling, and luxurious at one time. It was built in the 1870’s, which suggests that the Griersons were truly doing well for themselves after the Civil War. Unfortunately, the huge, beautiful house became a prison for Emily after Homer Barron died.
Miss Emily’s hair is another example of symbolism that Faulkner used in this story. He states the color of her hair and its gradual turning to an iron-gray over the years many times as he tells the story. In the end, it was the iron-gray hair on the pillowcase that gave rise the unease of the visitors to the upstairs room that had been boarded off for forty years (A Rose for Emily, 1930).
Although William Faulkner may or may not have intended to, his story A Rose for Emily gives reason for social interaction, for friends, and for outside activities. It shows how isolated a person can make themselves when they are in the depths of depression and fear. If anything, A Rose for Emily short story exemplifies how impossible it is to know exactly what is going on behind closed doors, unless you are on the inside.
A Rose for Emily. (1930). Retrieved from: http://flightline.highline.edu/tkim/Files/Lit100_SS2.pdf
Faulkner, William. (1958). A Rose for Emily. Verlag F. Schöningh.
Perry, Menakhem. (1979). “Literary dynamics: how the order of a text creates its meanings [with an analysis of Faulkner’s” A Rose for Emily”].” Poetics today 1.1/2: 35-361.