Literature Studies: William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

William Faulkner’s short story A Rose for Emily explores the experiences of a woman who cannot adjust to the evolving social and cultural environment. The author focuses on the life of Emily Grierson who once belonged to the Southern aristocracy; however, she is forced to adjust to the changes that American society underwent. More importantly, the writer shows the way in which this person becomes more and more secluded.

Additionally, this short story shows that this resistance to change can lead to disastrous results. Overall, it is possible to say that this work will be a part of the literary canon because it provides an excellent example of character development. In particular, the writer is able to portray the inner world of the protagonist by focusing on minor details that can be very informative.

Additionally, the writer skillfully uses symbols that represent significant social and cultural trends. To some degree, the main character is a symbolic figure representing the culture of the Old South and its values. It is possible that these techniques will be emulated by other authors in the future.

In this short story, William Faulkner does not explicitly express his opinions about Emily; instead, he focuses on different aspects of her behavior which give readers insights into the inner world of this woman. For instance, it is possible to mention that she refuses to pay taxes and notes that Colonel Sartoris freed her of this obligation (Faulkner 6). Nevertheless, she forgets that this man died many years ago.

Additionally, this woman does not let governmental officials attach a metal number to the door of her house (Faulkner 10). This refusal is important for showing that she does not want to accept the idea that her house is only one of many.

Overall, this woman does not want to believe that she lives in a new society in which she is no longer a distinguished member of society. This is one of the main ideas that the author wants to emphasize with the help of characterization.

Apart from that, William Faulkner relies on symbolism to describe the changes in society. To some degree, this character represents the values of the antebellum Southern society (Holland 143). The unnamed narrator describes the main character in the following way, “Alive; Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (Faulkner 5).

In this way, the author wants to demonstrate that this woman symbolizes the values of the so-called Old South (Holland 143). In particular, the main character represents a group of people who did not accept the changes that America underwent after the Civil War.

Overall, the short story discussed in this paper illustrates some of the main techniques that marked the literary legacy of William Faulkner. In particular, this author wants the readers to form their own conclusions about people’s actions or their worldview. This is why he attaches much importance to character development. Moreover, this author wants to demonstrate that some characters can represent a great number of people.

Moreover, they can stand for cultural values and social norms. These techniques can enable writers to engage the audience. This is why stories like A Rose Emily can be a part of the literary canon in the future. These are the main arguments that can be advanced.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily and Other Stories, New York: Random House LLC, 2012. Print.

Holland, Norman. The Nature of Literary Response: Five Readers Reading, New York: Transaction Publishers, 2011. Print.

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