Time concept in a Rose for Emily by William Faulkner Essay

The thematic content in the above passage is very representative of the overall short story A Rose for Emily. The passage describes the scene of Miss. Emily Griersons funeral. Emily has a unique relationship with the townsfolk of Jefferson. She is both pitied and admired. Emily disconnects herself from the outside world as she attempts to hang on to her past while denying the present. The men and women of the town gather at her funeral, and are reminded of the tragic life of Emily. Much like the townsfolk the reader may not understand Emily however they are led to sympathize with her. Faulkner’s description of Emily’s funeral also establishes the point of view the story is being told from, and helps the reader in understanding the plot structure and passing of time throughout.

“The two female cousins came at once.” This short and to the point sentence in the beginning of the passage is suggestive of the relationship that existed between Emily and her two female cousins. This relationship is one of blood-kin obligation and the estranged cousins arrive to merely take care of business. The short diction of this sentence does not indicate any emotional tie or hint of remorse for the passing of their own blood. It serves as a reminder to the reader that “poor Emily” was indeed alone in the world despite her every effort to deny change and hang on to the past.

The “whole town “comes to Miss. Emily’s funeral “to look” upon her. Faulkner’s words choice “to look” is an unflattering way to speak of the deceased woman and this leads the reader to believe that some of the townsfolk came for reasons other than to pay their respects or to say goodbye. This gives us another glimpse into the relationship Miss. Emily had with the townspeople. …

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…voiced in a unique narrative which is reflective of the collective commemoration of the life and death of Miss .Emily.

The elders, much like Emily see time as relative. The past is not forgotten but memories are morphed into a present reality and the passing of time is denied, and changed prevented.

In Faulkner’s carefully crafted short story the plot, and narration both support the shifting and manipulation of time. The old confuse time, and are disconnected with reality, fantasizing about their past memories and bringing them into their present life. They view the passing of time as a “huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years” rather than viewing time to be of the present world which follows the progression of time where the past is fading much like a diminishing road.


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