A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories

Review of the Role of Emily as Illustrated in William Faulkner’s Book, a Rose for Emily

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Dialectic Writing Entry #3

A Rose for Emily, a short story by William Faulker, is a timeless classic about a woman trapped in time. Miss Emily Grierson, who will be referred to as Emily, was a beautiful southern belle who never found a husband; her dad also died. These two events caused the traditional southern town to pity her. Luckily, her father was a Colonel, and when he died the mayor decided it was honorable for the town to grant her tax exempt status. Unfortunately, time caught on and the South modernized, giving them free postal service and paved roads. The new generation of townspeople did not approve of Emily’s tax status, and gave her many notices to contact them; she never responded. The only proof that she was still alive was the black man entering and leaving her house with a basket of food. Finally, the authorities confronted her, and she respond, “I have no taxes in Jefferson… Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourself.” After some brief exchanges, her servant Tobe, escorted them out. Later on in the story, the townspeople talk about how she obtains arsenic, simply because the druggist couldn’t say no. From there the townspeople thought she was going to kill herself, and they believed that was for the best. Suddenly she was seen with Homer Barron, an openly gay man, and they believed she would persuade him and marry him. Emily even bought a nightgown and a silver toilet set with, “H.B.” engraved on them. Surely they were to be married, but that wasn’t the case. One night Homer entered her house and was never seen again. Emily was only to be seen a few times after that event, growing older and greyer; her fading beauty was catching up to her age. Eventually, she fell ill and died. The town gave her a proper funeral and buried her. Finally the town can look into the room now one saw for decades, only to find a corpse in the nightgown Emily purchased for Homer Barron.

The traditional South, during the span of the 1800’s, was built on class. After they were defeated in the civil war, Reconstruction shook up their society and pushed them to modernize. The South was stubborn; their older generation held onto their traditional values, while the younger generations pushed toward the modern society, one held together by rumors and lies. Emily became a rumor near the end of her life; she was spoken about, but hardly seen. As a result, she became the town’s gossip, because no one understood her. All the townspeople did know was that they should pity her. Emily was a southern belle without a father or a husband and was defenseless back in late 1800’s because women were raised under the assumption that they would always have a man to take care of them. This understanding forced her to rot in doors for most of her days, with only a servant to keep her company. And as a result, the town could only speculate what had become of her.

Read more

Reasons Why Emily Is Insane In “A Rose For Emily”

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Jules verne once said, “Solitude and isolation are painful things and beyond human endurance. ” In “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner he reveals throughout the short story the unstable mind of Miss Emily Grierson. “A Rose for Emily” tells the story of a woman named Emily Grierson and her life in a nonlinear style. Faulkner talks about Emily living with her controlling father until he dies and the man she becomes falls in love with named Homer Barron until he disappears. By Faulkner writing, “A Rose for Emily,” he shows how isolation can drive a person to insanity through Emily. Her isolation and insanity came from her father and his death, the people in town, and the rejection of love from Homer Barron.

Emily was first isolated by her controlling father even though he was doing it because he loved her. Faulkner states that he “all the young men… had been driven away”(103) from her by her father. Even though her father may have isolated her out of love he kind of made himself her only social interactions. Emily became so attached to her father to where when he died she convinced herself that he “was not dead. She did that for three days”(103). She had people calling her to try and convince her to let them dispose of the body for days. After her father died she became unaware of things going on and things that had happened from never leaving her house. When Jefferson officials came to her house to try and get her to pay her taxes she replied with, “See Colonel Sartoris(103). ” He was the one who told Emily that the town would not make her pay taxes as an exchange for the money her father had loaned them. However, Faulkner informs the readers that Colonel Sartoris had been deceased for ten years. After her father’s death was when she started digging herself into a hole closer and closer to insanity.

After the isolation from her father she was then isolated because she lacked the cleanliness of her house and was judged by the people in town. They didn’t want to be seen with a person who wasn’t even able to upkeep their own house clean. The residents of Jefferson had to plan to “send her word to have her place cleaned up”(104) because of the awful smell that was coming from her home. From this one can understand that she had been isolated from Jefferson because no one wanted to associate with the lady with the smelly house in Jefferson. Emily’s servant, Tobe, became her single source of conversation everyday.

Emily’s road towards insanity cannot be put fully on her father or the people in town alone. The final breaking point of insanity for Emily was Homer Barron who did not feel the same way about her as she did him. Emily fell in love with Homer and saw him as a way to start interacting with some of the people in town again. The residents talked about how “Miss Emily had been to the jeweler’s and ordered a man’s toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece”(106). One can conclude from this that she really liked Homer and probably dreamed of marrying him. However, she later realized her dreams were not going to happen when heard that Homer said “he liked men”(106) and consequently, she went to the druggist and bought arsenic to kill him with. At this point of the story, I saw Emily as just a cold-blooded killer but what made her go from a cold-blooded killer to insane was the fact that she slept next to Homer’s decaying corpse for decades.

Faulkner shows us how easy it is for someone in total continuous isolation to go down the route towards insanity. Through his story as readers we can learn that isolation can be a harmful thing so you should include yourself in thing in the world. You can take away a lesson to not let isolation take away your sanity.

Read more

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner describes the peculiar life of Miss Emily, an unmarried and allegedly wealthy woman who is the talk of the town of Jefferson. Faulkner’s use of particular literary devices can be observed throughout the entire story. He carefully uses each literary device to develop the theme in a way that is not immediately obvious to the average reader. This exceptionally clever use of literary devices is what makes

“A Rose for Emily” such a brilliant and famed story in the world of literature. Some of the most interesting literary devices that Faulkner weaves into “A Rose for Emily” are setting, symbolism, and imagery, which he uses to emphasize a theme based around the progression of time. Faulkner cunningly uses the setting of the story to place an emphasis on the theme of time. The beginning of the story, set in an American town during the late 1800s to early 1900s, appears to be established around the mystery and scrutiny of Miss Emily’s home, which is where a great deal of the story takes place.

The house, as described by the narrator, is a “big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the lightsome of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street” (Faulkner 148). From this description, it is apparent that Miss Emily’s home is of an older style and has been standing for a substantial amount of time, which signifies the old age of Miss Emily and her time spent in the town. The narrator continues, stating that “garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting it’s stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and gasoline pumps – an eyesore among eyesores” (Faulkner 148).

This statement reveals to the reader that Miss Emily’s home has remained standing throughout times of change and development and is now surrounded by more modern homes and establishments. The disapproving tone of the narrator serves as a suggestion that the decayed home of Miss Emily is an undesirable reminder of the past, which emphasizes Faulkner’s theme of time. The house also reflects that Miss Emily herself has not adapted to the changes that have occurred in Jefferson and has been engulfed by the phenomenon that is time. Faulkner uses a great deal of symbolism within his work. It can even be said that the house itself doubles as the setting and a symbol because of the way it represents the past. However, some of the other symbolic objects within the story are smaller and less obvious than Miss Emily’s home. For example, it is stated Miss Emily wore a long gold chain around her neck with an “invisible” watch at the end (Faulkner 149).

Any kind of watch or clock is an obvious representation of time. But this watch, which was hidden underneath her belt, continuously ticking, is immensely symbolic of time and one of its most unpleasant effects: death. The watch is purposely placed underneath her clothing with each tick representing the heartbeat of Miss Emily. As time progresses, both the watch and Miss Emily’s heart will stop. The fact that the watch is hidden symbolizes that death is not always foreseen. Another symbol Faulkner uses to symbolize the passing of time is dust. At the end of story Faulkner uses dust to show the amount of time that had passed between Miss Emily’s creation of a creepy bridal shrine and the discovery of Homer Barron’s corpse. “Among them lay a collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust,” states the narrator (Faulkner 156).

Faulkner does not use dust to provide description only. Although the collar and tie appear to have just been removed, the dust is there to symbolize that the collar and tie were actually removed long ago. The dust is truly a symbol of time and ageing as is leaves its mark on all of the stationary items within Miss Emily’s home. Faulkner uses imagery abundantly throughout his piece. One of the cleverest uses of imagery that Faulkner uses to portray time is his routine use of the color gray. The color gray is typically associated with aging, and Faulkner uses it to embody just that. He shows the reader how time has progressed throughout the story by describing the color of Miss Emily’s hair in different shades of gray. During the flashback, the narrator states, “When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray” (Faulkner 154). Then the narrator states, “During the next few years, it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt-iron gray…” (Faulkner 154).

Lastly the narrator describes Miss Emily’s hair as remaining “that vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man” (Faulkner 154). Faulkner even describes the aging of Miss Emily’s servant, stating “Daily, monthly, yearly, we watched the Negro grow grayer and more stooped, going in and out with the market basket” (Faulkner 155). The way Faulkner persistently and liberally uses the color gray in this portion of the text allows the reader’s mind to create images of Miss Emily’s servant and herself becoming more and more aged, thus creating an illusion of the passage of time. Similar to the use of dust, the color gray seems like it is merely used for description. However, Faulkner carefully chose to use this color within his story in order to perpetuate the theme of time. Faulkner uses the setting of

“A Rose for Emily” as well as symbolism and imagery to portray a theme of time progression. Throughout the story, Faulkner uses different entities such as the house, the watch, dust, and the color gray to creatively create an illusion of the passing of time. Each item uniquely represents some sort of element of time, whether it is change, death, or ageing. Ultimately, Faulkner’s use of such literary devices are the most fascinating part of his work. Upon close examination, the reader is able to interpret every single line of “A Rose for Emily” in a way that is only possible because of Faulkner’s ingenious writing style.

Read more

Death and Decay in A Rose for Emily, a Short Story by William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Subtleties of Death

In “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, the ultimate fate of Miss Emily and her lover are foreshadowed by understated elements in the text, such as descriptions of Miss Emily and her community, events in her life, and neighborhood gossip.

The description of Miss Emily and her surroundings implies that the ending involves death and decay. For example, Miss Emily’s house is described as “lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay” (281). From the beginning, the sexual nature of rotting is revealed. The abnormal use of the word “coquettish” to describe deterioration implies their significant relationship later in the text. Furthermore, the description of Miss Emily in the later years, with “hair of an active man” personifies Homer Barron whose existence has been fulfilled solely by her imagination and persistence (288). Juxtaposed after Faulkner discloses that Homer disappears, this detail hints at the deep involvement Miss Emily has with Homer. The details of the house and herself foresee a future of perish and possession, leading to the belief that there is more to the story other than a poor, lonely woman.

The jumbled sequence of the events conveys perspectives from different time periods of the story, providing insight on events that have already occurred. For instance, in the dialogue between the druggist and Miss Emily, she declares, “I want arsenic”, and refuses to claim why (286). This event is one of many that appears suspicious and does not disclose its significance immediately. Chronologically placing this scene after the funeral and the mention of the smell adds to the mystique aura of Miss Emily’s character development. Furthermore, when Faulkner explains Miss Emily’s relations with her neighbors, he mentions that she “had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell” (283). Although the specifics of the smell are not stated, its mention raises questions about future events of the story. It allows consideration for the cause of the smell and its connection to future events. Lastly, when Faulkner writes “And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron,” the elements from previous parts of the story gain more meaning and significance (287). Emphasized by the time that passes between Homer Barron’s move into the house and Miss Emily’s death, Homer’s disappearance progresses from a fleeting concern to an odd circumstance. Due to its delayed appearance in the text, this quote implies more about the smell mentioned in the beginning of the story, and leads the reader to anticipate the demise of Homer. The next time the neighborhood sees Miss Emily after Homer’s disappearance is when her hair is gray and she has grown much fatter. Conclusive from the evidence of the rare appearance of Miss Emily and the increasingly rare occurrence of the Negro, the fate of Mr. Barron appears grim.

The ending of “A Rose for Emily” is unexpected due to the subtle nature of the foreshadowing details. From first impression, details about Miss Emily’s appearance, house, and the dialogue do not gain significance until connected to the final paragraph, where it is revealed that Homer Barron has been dead for over forty years. When the entire truth is known, these details become more prevalent in the structure of the story.

“A Rose for Emily” contains many elements throughout the text that suggest the ending of the story through the filter of her neighborhood gossip circle. Although the truth is not explained until the final paragraph, the abundance of context clues shed light on the real life of Miss Emily and Homer Barron, explaining how overseeing subtleties of life can cause a misunderstanding of the bigger picture.

Read more

A Critique of Emily Grierson in A Rose for Emily, A Short Story by William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Environmental factors play a major role in how a person grows and develops. These circumstances can either positively or negatively affect someone. Emily Grierson’s inability to change is a perfect example of what may happen if an individual is brought up in a toxic environment. In the story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, the narrator gives clues to the reader that Miss Emily was brought up in an environment that resulted in her inability to recognize change.

The first instance that portrays this fact is when members of the younger generation pay Miss Emily a visit. The young men saw Miss Emily as “A small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt…Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.” (Pg. 34) The watch hidden inside her belt symbolizes that she is running out of time. Life has just been passing her by without her realizing it. The sound of the invisible ticking highlights that she is unable to acknowledge time while everyone else can. Miss Emily also “Looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water. (Pg. 34) This characterizes her as someone drowning in time. She is trapped with no control over herself and her surroundings.

Another example of Miss Emily not being able to recognize change is her reaction to the death of her father. “After his death, all the ladies prepared to call the house and offer condolence…Miss Emily met them at the door…with no trace of grief on her face…She told them that her father was not dead…She did that for three days.” (Pg.36) She uses denial as a coping mechanism. Her father’s death was the first time she encountered change. People began to see her as someone on their level. She quickly went from being an important person with high social status to having absolutely nothing. Since her father chased away all her potential suitors, she was now alone, desperate, and with no income. The reality of the situation was too much for Miss Emily to mentally handle. Her being in denial was the only way in preventing her insanity. She had no choice but to “cling to that in which that robbed her.” (Pg. 36) If it were not for the ministers and doctors pursuing her to give them the corpse, Mr. Grierson’s body would have never left the house.

The last and most disturbing instance is what was found in Miss Emily’s house after her death. “The man himself lay in bed…looking down at the profound and fleshless grin…the body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace…what was left of him, rotted…in the second pillow…we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.” (Pg. 39-40) Miss Emily has been practicing necrophilia with the corpse of Homer Barron for many years. Homer Barron was Miss Emily’s first and only love interest. He contrasts greatly with her father; who was described as cruel and controlling. These characteristics show that he was not a loving or supportive father. Shortly after meeting Barron, Miss Emily is portrayed by the town as “Fallen” (Pg. 37) This tells the reader that she had been deflowered by Barron. Having sex with him gave her newly discovered feelings of love and intimacy. Since she did not get past the trauma of her father’s death, Miss Emily felt that the only way to keep Barron by her side was to kill him. She could continue experiencing affection and closeness with no worries. Necrophilies are typically controlling to the point that they cannot sustain a relationship with a living person. Miss Emily became a necrophilie because of her need for control. Due to her feeling trapped by her father and time, the only instance she felt any power is when she was with Barron’s corpse. He would have eventually left her anyway. When first seeing Homer Barron, he was building the first sidewalk in town. This symbolizes modernization and development; qualities that strongly differ with Miss Emily’s stagnation. He was also portrayed as “not a marrying man.” (Pg. 37) Barron seemed to have no intention of marrying her and only showed willingness when Miss Emily’s cousins pressured him.

In the story “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, the narrator gives clues to the reader that Miss Emily was brought up in an environment that resulted in her inability to recognize change. These clues consisted of the symbolism of the watch, Miss Emily’s reaction to her father’s death, and the practice of necrophilia. Miss Emily was mentally incapable of overcoming the trauma of her past. Life is all about healing and growing to be the best version of one’s self. If generativity does not occur, then a person will forever feel trapped and helpless; just like Emily Grierson.

Read more

William Faulkner’s View of Refusal and Despair Evident in the Life of Emily as Illustrated in His Book, A Rose For Emily

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner is a short story of sadness concerning a woman, Emily, who faces a struggle of inability to adapt to the changes in her life and the surrounding thus she results to living in denial and fear within herself. The story is demarcated into five sections with each section offering a specific perspective. Psychoanalytic criticism is a psychology theory that explains the behaviors of people are motivated and even driven by desires, conflicts, needs, and fears of which many they are unaware. We see throughout this story Emily living in denial and grappling with concerns that she is unable to come to terms with, denying to accept the changes within and around her life thus being constantly in isolation and despair.

The story shows Emily living in denial when her father dies. She continues to repress her feelings of grief within her pretending outwardly to be okay. A section of ladies a day his death decides to visit her and to pass their condolences and offer any help. She met them with no semblance of grief on her face and dressed as usual at the door (pg. 4). She even denies that her father is dead. They go to her house for three days pleading with her to allow them to dispose her father’s body to no avail. She only allowed them to take the body just when they were about to use the law. She breaks down at this point and they quickly buried her father understanding her position (pg.4).

Another instance of denial is evident when she murders Homer Barron. The two are seen spending time together on several occasions. Many people think that Emily has finally found a suitor in Homer and that they would marry. Homer is lastly seen entering Emily’s house where she kills him. Her father’s dominance upon her drove away suitors for years by turning them away as unworthy (pg. 5). She feels lonely and thus accepts Homer’s attention. Realizing that he had no firm wedding plans and fearing to lose him, she decides to have total control of him by killing him. She cannot accept the reality of him leaving her and would instead kill him than let him go. For years she sleeps beside the physical remains of her dead lover.

Emily also portrays denial when she refuses to admit that she had taxes in Jefferson. The town leaders sent her notices with no reply. They finally hold a meeting and send a group to visit her at her home. With a dry and cold voice, she declared having no taxes in Jefferson as explained by colonel Sartoris and even dares them to check the records to satisfy themselves (pg.3). Colonel Sartoris had invented a tale exempting their family from paying taxes, a tale which does not satisfy the new generation of town leaders. She even does not realize that the person she is asking them to confirm from is long dead. She fears to cope up with the changing times and thus chooses isolation as the hideout. She continually lives in denial of her surroundings to live her life as she desires with no interference, suppressing her fears and hurts and keeping them to herself.

She denies the fact that she needs help and support of friends to steady her life but instead withdraws to isolation where her health deteriorates, home stinks and even murders her lover. The only person she allows into her company is the Negro manservant who served as the combined gardener and cook. For ten years, nobody else she authorized to enter into that house, and she rarely went out. The ladies were not surprised when a foul smell developed as the Negro man servant according to them could not keep the kitchen properly (pg.4). Unwilling to let go her lover even after murdering her she results to necrophilia and even her health deteriorates.

When she can no longer contain the mental pressure and unable to adapt to the changes both in her life and her surrounding, she succumbs to her sickness. Her father had limited her to understanding only his standard of southern woman and values and so refused to conform with the evolving times. She always lived in isolation and despair with repressed feelings of fear until with no one waiting on her except the doddering Negro man. For a long time, she fell sick and no one even knew she was sick for they had long given up trying to get information concerning her from the Negro (pg4).

Repression of our painful experiences and feelings does not erase them from memory; instead, we unconsciously play them out in our behavior. People also tend to develop defenses within such as denial and fear among others. In this short story, A Rose for Emily, the unconscious and defenses advanced by the narrator illustrate the psychoanalytic criticism.

Read more

Comparison of Culture and Transformation As Depicted In A Rose for Emily By William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Womanhood Burglary

In today’s day and time, it is not as shocking when women become pregnant out of wedlock, people of the same sex get married, and people date out of their race. However, these occurrences used to cause quite a stir before today’s time. Often times when reading literature we fail to realize the role the time period plays in the underlying meaning. This is the case in William Faulkner’s story, A Rose for Emily, which takes place in the late 1800s to the early 1900s in a very southern town in Mississippi. During this time period many things that are acceptable in 2017 were then frowned upon. Reading this story that is set in an era much different from today, it is revealed how much things have changed. William Faulkner uses Emily’s relationship with Homer and the other members of society to reveal the theme of tradition versus change.

Throughout the story it is evident that Emily represents change, while the townspeople embody the established traditional values. The contrast between the two, reveals the effect that societal rules can have on a person. It is mentioned in the beginning of the story that “Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town”(Glaspell 205). Emily Grierson, even when dead, is not seen as a human being with feelings or insides, but is instead simply seen as a fallen monument. Throughout the story her value and reputation to the town is recognized more than the hurt and pain that she endures as a person. Even after her father’s death she is not seen as a grieving human being going through something traumatic, but instead the town is quick to get on her about her taxes. According to Terry Heller, “Emily, as improverished asirsocracy, is somewhat like the former slaves; she becomes a duty, obligation, and care. The Colonel’s apparently charitable action is qualified by his motives, which appear to be based more on the maintenance of a rigid class order then on respectful affection”(Heller). Through context it appears as though the town has more importance and life than the people in it.

It is revealed later in the story that “none of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such”(Glaspell 207). This brings up another aspect of Emily’s relationship with the townspeople: the societal views on women. Although it may be briefly discussed in History Class, the societal views on women during the Victorian era is most thoroughly revealed through literature such as “A Rose for Emily.” The way the townspeople go about in a gossiping uproar due to Emily’s lack of a husband and kids, shows the emphasis that society has on family. During this era, women were expected to be married mid 20s and to have already started working on kids. Therefore, Emily being 30 years old and without neither a husband nor kids, goes against the established tradition of the town. William Faulkner’s use of Emily’s lack of a family, shows that rules are meant to be broken and tradition is meant to be changed. He does not use Emily to represent a woman who does not want to start a family, but instead, he uses her to represent a woman who wants to go about starting a family on her own terms. She is a character who wants what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking the tradition that she once represented before her father’s death.

Emily Grierson refuses to confide with the townspeople and their set traditions, but instead completely goes against them when her affair with Homer begins. The relationship between Emily, a wealthy white woman, and Homer, a poor black man, symbolize the glorious pre-war between the north and the south. During this time, blacks were not seen as anything more than slaves even those like Homer, who were from up north. It is when their relationship is first mentioned that the phrase, “poor Emily” begins appearing in the text. Emily’s affection toward Homer is seen as nothing more than her settling for whatever she can get, but her actual love for him is not taken into consideration because it is not what societal rules say is acceptable. Faulkner throws in a curve ball when he begins to address Emily’s purchase of rat poisoning, which leaves the readers guessing the purpose of it. It is through the gossip of the townspeople that we discover that Homer is in fact, gay, but this statement is pushed aside when it is revealed that Emily bought a man’s toilet seat and men’s clothing, which somehow signifies her marriage to Homer. The surprising thing is that after assuming Emily’s marriage to Homer, the townspeople respond with, “We were glad. We were really glad because the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been” (Glaspell 209). This gladness found in the townspeople shows their disapproval and therefore, removal of Emily. Her previous breaking of their tradition which dents her reputation, is finally set off the edge due to her assumed marriage to a black man. It is then that other people are seen more as a Grierson, a prized tradition, than she is herself.

It is toward the end of the story that we discover the true story behind Emily and Homer, which leaves a gruesome feeling. Emily’s anger fueled from Homer’s confession of his sexuality, leads her to kill him. However, not only does she kill him using their rat poisoning she previously purchased, but she still goes along as if they get married and sleeps with his dead body until she dies herself. Although this plot twist of an ending leaves a reader feeling overwhelmed and somewhat taken back, it is the underlying symbolism that strikes a cord. In Homer, Emily found someone she could marry and start a family with, someone who would finally give her what a woman was supposed to have. However, Homer’s sexuality deprives her of these things and thus, robs her of her womanhood. The traditions bestowed upon her, leaves her so set on achieving society’s perception of womanhood, that she loses her sanity along the way. According to, Emily spent most of the time of her life through isolation both mentally and physically. It seems that Emily started fading with time” (Mohsin 3). Another symbolic meaning to the gruesome tale is Emily’s inability to cope with death. When her father died it was from natural causes, which left Emily with nothing to do about it. However, with Homer, by killing him, she gave herself control over his death. By sleeping with his corpse, she was able to keep him near her even in death, which was something she could not do with her father. Emily’s death plays a very significant role in the story because it leaves the townspeople without a say in the matter of Homer. Throughout the entire story we are told the townspeople’s reactions and gossip to Emily’s entire life, but due to her death, they are unable to say anything about Homer. They finally shut up.

The title itself, “A Rose for Emily,” reveals the theme of tradition verses change, because traditionally we would not applaud Emily for what she did to Homer or recognize it in an honorable way. However, William Faulkner looks deeper into the real reason why she did what she did, and presents her a rose to give her the happy ending she truly deserves. The rose that the author figuratively bestows upon Emily, is the final and well-awaited recognition of her as a human. It is through the title that Emily is finally humanized.

Read more

Standing Alone Together: an Analysis of Fear and Independence in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Louise Erdrich’s “Fleur”

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

What is it to be ostracised? “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “Fleur” by Louise Erdrich, are tales that encompass the idea of social exclusion. The characters in these stories sit upon a precipice of social isolation, destitute to be ostracised by their communities. Fleur and Emily both challenged societal ideals invoking fear within their compatriots and were consequentially ostracised and treated with aggression when perceived as a threat. Both women retaliated against their stereotypical confinements based on gender, age, race, and class. Fleur and Emily defied the traditional concepts of socially accepted gendered behaviours, and even dared defy gender normativity. Fleur was ill perceived. She displayed raw masculinity throughout the entirety of her story. She was first perceived as masculine through the clothes she wore. She was described as being “dressed like a man” (Erdrich 803).

This concept of her unfiltered masculinity was again represented by her having a man like strength (Erdrich 804) when she worked at the butcher’s shop. This uncompromised masculinity flared once more in her ability to play cards. She was thought to be abnormal because a co-worker named Lily could not believe, “that a woman could be smart enough to play cards” (Erdrich 806). These displays of masculine traits were not accepted and were even feared by the relative community. Fleur was a strong, uncompromised woman and therefore uncomprehensive and threatening. Her skill at cards, while once seen as impressive, quickly turned into a suspicious trait (Erdrich 806). These traditionally masculine traits forced Fleur from the gendered role of dainty and meek, which resulted in her inability to be traditional, controlled and defined. Emily was seen in the same regards as defying her perceived gendered behaviour. Emily openly fought men and disregarded their attempted superiority (Faulkner 1).

When gentlemen went to Emily to collect her taxes, she openly disregarded them and asked them to leave (Faulkner 1). She also defied the gender normal ideals on the presentation of a woman’s appearance because she cut her hair off (Faulkner 1). Emily further defiedher gender expectations through her relations with the other women in her community. Within this era, it was perceived that women were supposed to be polite and follow certain cultural behaviours (Faulkner 3). Emily defied this idea, and even went as far as to be individualistic and ignore the ideals of polite femininity (Faulkner 3). Fleur and Emily were bold when they chose to step outside the traditional gendered roles. These actions bonded them together in defying societal expectations but added to their ostracization from their respective communities and ultimately aided in the societies’ fear and abandonment of these women. As well as gender roles, class and race formed another point of contention for Fleur and Emily. These two components within society dictated how their relationships and actions were supposed to be performed. Fleur was a young Indigenous woman, and even within her society, was clearly a lower ranked individual. Within her own community she was cast down to the association with animals instead of people, being describe as a bear (Erdrich 803), or having “grinned the white wolf grin” (Erdrich 805).

When Fleur left her town to seek refuge elsewhere, she was still classed as a lowly Indigenous female. Yet even with this detrimental classing system, Fleur was fiercely independent. Fleur chose to ignore the idea that she owed people anything. She ignored the words of the elders and lived her life according to her own ideas (Erdrich 803). Fleur was not phased by the advancements of gentlemen who where viewed superior to her in the era (Erdrich 805-808). Emily, much like Fleur, defied her class label. Emily was supposed to be demure, but often opposed that concept. She was described as strong willed and in defiance of her class identity. It was said that, “she vanquished them” (Faulkner 2), when discussing men. Further her interaction with the druggist demonstrated her incapacity to fulfill the suspected role. When she went to collect poison, she stared down and intimidated the male druggist into giving her what she wanted without the traditional protocol (Faulkner 4-5).

Emily also refuted the idea of staying within her class for relationships, she instead defied it and was involved with a man beneath her class(Faulkner 5). Emily and Fleur were defiant in nature. They would act outside the realms of social propriety, class, and of course gender, ultimately posing them as threat to the community. The community within both, “Fleur” and “A Rose for Emily”, had intensive beliefs about women. The communities did not accept the women, predominately because of their intensive rejection of societal expectations. Fleur broke the predetermined and undiscussed rules of the community by dressing as man (Erdrich 803), acting animalistic (Erdrich 803-806), and defying the rules of class (Erdrich 803-808). She did not allow the social barricades to control her actions, she instead was freed. This forced her into being viewed as evil and therefore a threat. The upmost desire to extinguish this threat can be seen in the violent act of letting her drown (Erdrich 802). It was stated that, “the next time she fell in the lake Fleur Pillager was twenty years old and no one touched her” (Erdrich 802). The town did not accept Fleur for who she was. In fact, she was so despised and feared that people would rather let her drown or try to run her out of town (Erdrich 803). Fleur again was feared by the gentlemen that she worked with (Erdrich 805-810). They did not understand her abilities or attitude, and this was shown through the medium of cards (Erdrich 805-810).

In retaliation for this she was punished through rape (Erdrich 809). Emily was seen less of a threat solely because of age. She was from a generation that was protected and therefore she was a burden (Faulkner 1). Her punishment for defying rules was less violent. People disregarded her, gossiped and ultimately isolated her (Faulkner 1-7). She was isolated so badly that she kept a body in her house for years and no one knew until she died (Faulkner 7). The women were punished and feared because they were in defiance of the different social rules. To defy the socially constructed rules is to challenge the beliefs of one’s compatriots. Fleur and Emily both challenged the constructs and functions in their own realms. This ultimately led their communities to fear and punish them for their social defiance.

While both women were punished with ostracization and isolation, Fleur was also punished in drastic and violent ways. These women sharedcommonalities in bravery. To be strong and to defy unjust rules, is to evoke fear from their societies that have lost all control and therefore resolve to violent actions. Emily and Fleur were impressively strong women that demonstrated the pain and suffering that accompanied a defiance in the rules; and yet both women remained outcasts as opposed to reforming their behaviours and mold to societal expectations. Fleur and Emily, while their stories ended differently, and their punishments varied, proved undeniably that to be strong and to be feared is still a choice over diminishing their individualism.

Read more

The Life of Miss Emily Grierson in a Rose for Emily, a Short Story by William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the short story A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, Emily Grierson is the protagonist, and the whole story revolves around her. The story begins with a large funeral of Miss Emily and unfolds her life. Miss Emily Grierson is described to be a fat woman living in a modernized town which was full of people who rather saw her as a distant woman, very cold and a woman who lived in her past. (Nichols 150)

Miss Emily is referred by the town people as a duty, care, and tradition. She is portrayed to be very stubborn, mean and old woman before her story unfolds. Later as her story unfolds, she is portrayed by people as a sympathetic character whose story cannot be full. Understood .The title of the story A Rose for Emily also portrays Miss Emily as the protagonist of the story. All that is reflected in the story is about the life of Miss Emily, it starts by her funnel and narrates the life story of Miss Emily after her father`s death and the life after she started dating Homer Barron. (Faulkner 170)

She is stuck in both space and time and does not involve her views in the changing interactions with the society. Emily is a brave woman, in one of the most prominent events in life she refused to pay taxes. Other instances include her slow acceptance to her father`s passing and by her rejecting to have a mailbox put up. She enforces her sense of conduct and law when she refuses numbers to be attached to her house. Her dismissal of the law, however, takes some more sinister consequences, and she takes the life of the man. Despite Emily`s mental instability, she portrays herself as a strong woman.

Miss Emily as described by the narrator in the story lives in an isolated house together with her servant. It took for people from the community to visit her house. At one point in time, some tax collectors came to visit her and noticed a mysterious smell was coming from her house. The smell came two weeks after Miss Emily’s father had died and after her boy boyfriend had left her. The town later came to realize that Miss Emily`s father had died two weeks ago and they gave Miss Emily some condolences. His father was everything to her, and his death brought poverty in her life. After Mr. Grierson dies, however, Miss Emily controls herself by refusing to give up his body. Doctors and preacher visited Miss Emily, talked to her, and finally, she agreed to give out the body of his father. People in the town though she was insane for denial of his father’s body. (Nichols 160)

All that is reflected in the short story is about the life of Miss Emily , it starts by her funnel and narrates the life story of Miss Emily after her father`s death and the life after she started dating Homer Barron.

Read more

The Long Life Story of Emily Grierson in A Rose for Emily, a Short Story by William Faulkner

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

In Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”, the narrator tells the story of Emily Grierson, a woman who lived an incredibly long life and was known to everyone throughout the town. The story also tells the reader of Emily’s mental deterioration as time goes on was not known or acknowledged by the townspeople. Mental illness, especially in the South, was masked by eccentricities and a tolerant attitude toward those who were socially consider high class (Phelan 188).

The first part of this short story describes Ms. Emily Grierson as a popular woman in the town, mostly because she had been around for so long. “When Miss Emily Grierson died our whole town went to her funeral: the men went 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 had seen save an old man-servant-had seen in the last ten years” (Faulkner 299). In the story, she was tax exempt by Colonel Sartoris after the death of her father in the year 1894. There was no written record of this however, and the newer generation of elected officials tried to send her a notification that her taxes were due. The first sign we see of her mental illness comes when the city authorities arrive to collect her taxes, and she repeatedly states that they need to see Colonel Sartoris, who at that time had been dead for nearly a decade. For Emily, the passage of time doesn’t seem to matter at all as she has spent many years of her life hidden away in her home.

Part two takes place approximately two years after Emily’s father died, and just a short time after she was abandoned by her would be husband. At this point in the story we see further deterioration of Emily’s mental state as she is rarely seen outside of her home. “After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (Faulkner 301). As time passes a horrible smell begins to be emitted from Emily’s house. Many of the citizens complained about it. Eventually Judge Stevens says he refuses to accuse a lady of smelling bad, so four men snuck onto Emily’s property at night and sprinkled lime around the house to prevent the foul odor. The reader later finds out that Emily had pretended everything was normal, as if her father hadn’t died for three days before she finally allowed the body could be disposed of. The reader then realizes that if the smell wasn’t coming from her father where could it be coming from? No one in the town thought she was having serious mental health issues; They thought it was her father had driven away many men from her and seemed to be overprotective. “We remembered all the men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner 302).

During part three of the story, Emily was sick for a long time and makes a reappearance with short hair making her look tragic and serene (Faulkner 302). The town had hired contractors to repair the sidewalks. Homer Barron, the foreman of the labor operation, soon became a well-liked man around town, as he seemed to bring laughter to everyone. Shortly after coming into town, he was seen riding around with Miss Emily in a buggy. Everyone in the town seemed thrilled that she had found someone to make her happy at last. Many of the older people in the town recalled that no one had come to her father’s funeral and felt sorry for Emily, about what had happened and how she had reacted to her father’s death. This further proves that mental illness was not something talked about in the open during this time. At the end of this part of the story the reader finds Emily at the drug store for rat poison.

In part four, the people of the town began to suspect that Emily is going to commit suicide because Homer Barron, was homosexual and was often seen drinking with younger men at the Elks club in town. The ladies of the town eventually forced a Baptist minister to call upon Emily. The residents of the town were sure there would be a wedding now, as Emily had ordered men’s toiletries and gifts from the jeweler. After this, Miss Emily seems to develop severe agoraphobia; the fear of leaving one’s home, and is only seen in windows, having grown obese and grey. The only person who came and went from the home was the servant. She continued to receive tax notices that remained unclaimed. At this point, Emily has completely lost her mind, “She was only occasionally seen in the downstairs window looking through people” (Faulkner 305).

The final part of the story takes the reader to the opening of Emily’s house after over ten years of only the servant being inside. After the servant opened the house, he was never seen or heard from again. He just ran away indicating that he felt shame for what he had been hiding for all the years he had worked for Emily. He also may have left for fear of being blamed for the murder of Homer Barron, because as previously stated mental illness in the early 1900’s was very taboo, especially for a woman. The room above the stairs in Emily’s home, was a very mysterious place for the townsfolk as is hadn’t been opened in over forty years. The room was furnished as a bridal suite, and inside the toiletries of Homer Barron laid near a folded suit and shoes. The townspeople then found Homer Barron’s body lying in the bed rotted to the point where he couldn’t be removed from the mattress, “The man himself lay in the bed” (Faulkner 306). Next to him, on the recently laid upon pillow was an iron gray hair. This is the final showing of Miss Emily’s illness; she seems to have suffered from delusions and agoraphobia, as she spent forty years sleeping next to a man that she had killed.

After reading this story closely the reader comes to realize, that while the individual events on their own do not seem to out of the ordinary, looking at the big picture with all the events in order we see the slow progression of Miss Emily towards a complete mental breakdown.

Writing Process Summation

I chose this short story, because I felt it was the easiest for me to understand. I arrived at my understanding of the story after reading it a few times. I realized that the story seemed to be about the decline of Miss Emily’s mental health. I made the points that mental illnesses and degeneration were widely ignored and feared in the early 1900’s. I revised the thesis of my essay to be more definitive. I want the reader to see that mental issues were not always as widely accepted as they are today. While there are still problems with accepting them, people seem far more tolerant now than in the past.

Read more
Order Creative Sample Now
Choose type of discipline
Choose academic level
  • High school
  • College
  • University
  • Masters
  • PhD

Page count
1 pages
$ 10