Reader-Response Criticism: A Point Of View On A Rose For Emily
Readers from all over the world usually are very focused and attentive to what they read. They know most poems, short stories, novels, or plays are not a solid piece of fabric, but a series of threads separated by gaps that readers must fill in. ‘A Rose for Emily’ by William Faulkner is full of gaps that’s the reader must involve him/her self deeply to understand and fill these gaps. With the narration of this story the plot is very hard to follow but if with a good mind set the symbols and explanations will appear and the story will make sense. The narrator speaks for many characters in the story, including, the men of Jefferson, and the women, must of the time he will speak for both. He walks us through the three generations of the Jefferson family, including the generation of Emily’s father, Emily’s own generation, and the ‘future generation,’ which are the children of Miss Emily’s own generation (the kids of the people her own age). The narrator is a bit harsh on the first two generations, and with this is simple to see that because of this hard and racist narration, it led to her downfall and loss of control. This gives the story a sense of almost confessional feel to it. The narrator explains how Emily’s life was supposed to be lived at a high level and when this almost lower-middle class person rejects her (Homer) and starts spreading rumors that him and her had sex drives her mad, to the point where she loses control and focus of reality and kills homer and this is like a confession made by Emily in the story.
The story is divided into five sections, and the plot is all over the place. Of these five sections, you must put them in order to make sense of what is happening. It starts with section I, where Emily is dead, and they are having her funeral in her house, which is well refined and in a good neighborhood. In section II, people in the town are complaining about strong odors coming from Emilie’s house, her dad had just dies and she’s been abandoned by the man she was supposed to be marring. In section III, Emily is thought to be very sick after her father’s death, during that summer the town contracts a company to pave the sidewalks and this is where homer comes in (the guy she was supposed to marry). In section IV, people are scared that Emily will kill herself, there had been rumors that she bought rat poison and was going to use it on herself. Some women get together and send the Baptist minister to check up and her and after that visit he swears he will never enter the premises and or speak of what he saw.
In section V, what happens after Emily dies is explained, after her funeral they go up to the room where homer was poisoned, and the town people recognizes him after almost 30 years of being dead and this is how the story ends. This story is all over the place but after some digging and observations you can figure out the plot that she killed homer because; jealousy of him not marring her and/or his lying about them being together and him telling people he didn’t want her. In this story ‘A Rose for Emily’ there are a couple of symbols. For example, Emily herself and the house are a symbol of death and pestilence, while she’s alive this house is nothing but a smelly and scary place to look at but when Emily dies the house belongs to the city and they are free to do whatever with it. The symbol of the rose shows that Emily found love with Homer Barron. Her father though told her and emphasized that no man will ever be good enough for her, so the rose symbolizes the love she felt for homer for the short period of time.
All in all, this story is perfect for using the reader response criticism because this story is like a scavenger hunt, the answers are all there, but you must look, study, and be patient with the story so you figure it out. You must interact with the story, figure out the time line and everything will fall into place. As sick and twisted this story might be, it teaches you something very important: don’t let pride get the best of you.
- Faulkner, William. ‘A Rose for Emily.’ Portable Literature. Ninth Ed. Kirszner and Mandell. 2015. 143-151.
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