A Rose For Emily

Emily is a woman that has had a hard life. Her family made it so that she was held in
high regard in the public eye. She was not suppose to encounter relationships that were
below her stature. The town, being the antagonist, drives Emily to her insanity because
they will not allow her to lead a normal life. They liked the show they were watching a
refused to give it up.

The narrator explores how Emily is defined in her position in the town by her
name and her father. People in our town, . . ., believed the Griersons held themselves a
little too high for what they really were. (pg.83) Emilys father had been controlling
during her early life and had stopped all suitors from visiting her. we had all
remembered all the young men her father had driven away, . . . (pg.84) Emily is
forced to live in a house were her father will is paramount to her own. When he dies we
understand this lose is almost to much for her to bear. Miss Emily met them at the
door, dressed as usual with no trace of grief on her face. She told them her father was
not dead. (pg.84) The denial of her fathers death is explained by the narrator: and we
knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as
people will. (pg.84)
The narrator also explores the way in which the towns people define Miss Emily
as a tradition, a duty, and a care, . . . (pg.81) This definition is narrowly drawn. Her
rank is one of the representatives of those August names, . . . (pg.81) When she
begins her relationship with Homer Barron, his name shows irony because he is described
asa northerner, a day laborer, (pg.84) the towns people are appalled. Then some
of the ladies began to say it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young
people. (pg.86) The towns people go as far as to send the Baptist preacher, the towns
moral leader, to chastise Emily regarding this relationship. Emily refutes this
chastisement and quickly flaunts her relationship with Homer. The next Sunday they
again drove about the streets, . . . (pg.86) Having been rebuked, the ministers wife
enlists the aid of Emilys cousins to pressure Emily back into the role they feel she should
play. They do arrive at which time Emily buys poison. The towns people feel placadid
after Emily buys the arsenic. So the next day we all said,She will kill herself, and
we said it would be the best thing. (pg.85) The towns people it seems would have Emily
play by their rules as have been defined by tradition and duty or commit suicide.
Emily at first tries to break away from the defined role after her father dies by
establishing a relationship with Homer Barron. When she sees how the community reacts
she is torn between maintaining her stature and connecting to man in a relationship. This
conflict ultimately leads her to madness. She buys the arsenic not to kill herself but to
kill Homer Barron. However, she cannot bear to relinquish their relationship and so
keeps his corpse in her bed where she has murdered him. Her denial for death which is
foreshadowed in her fathers comes into play here as she is able to play her societal role
while keeping her sweetheart forever in her bed.

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As you can see because of her father, her social stature, and the town she was
driven to insanity. Without all of these variables Emily might have been able to lead a
normal life. Living up to others expectations is not an easy thing to do. We can all learn
a lesson from Emily, living up to others expectations is not as important than the
happiness of our own.

English Essays

A Rose for Emily

Stylistic devices and themes can play the major role of a cornerstone upon which any literary work can be built on. This can help bring out the beauty that keeps the readers glued to the text and be the captivating component that puts the reader’s intellect on toes.

As shown by William Faulkner in his interesting short story A Rose for Emily, Faulkner greatly builds so many stylistic devices among them symbolism, imagery and even allegory to communicate his message to his readers. On the other hand he builds greatly on the theme of death and its impact on the main character Miss Emily Grierson (Faulkner 3). Just but to mention on point of narration, it is evident that it is not all about Emily but the whole town and its inhabitants.

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One of the stylistic devices employed by Faulkner in the story A Rose for Emily is the use of the third person plural point of view of course through hearsay. The narrators use only the first person plurals “our” and “we”. The identity of the narrators can therefore be thought to be the average town’s people narrating the story in unison; all the accounts of the story are given from not an individual but rather a group.

For instance at the beginning of the story, the first sentence in the first paragraph says, “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to the funeral: the men 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 save an old manservant – a combined gardener and cook – had seen in at least ten years (Faulkner 1)”.

This therefore signifies that Miss Emily was being watched by all the people and that most of her activities were being monitored by the town’s people.

Another stylistic device that is seen widely used in the story A Rose for Emily by Faulkner is symbolism among which is the position taken by Emily’s house in the story. There is more to it than meets the eye, because it is not just like any other four walled structure but all that goes on in there and the many evils that it shields from the people around the small town.

The town’s people see it as an eyesore because “…it has been dilapidated and that new buildings had come up leaving it lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps – an eyesore among eyesores” (Faulkner 12.)

This can be thought to signify how awkward it can be at times to close ones doors towards change and cling on to the old traditional activities ignoring the wind of change that sweeps across the world each passing day. It also symbolizes that a person’s outward character may be totally different from who he surely is in the inside. Her house could be seen from outside but the evils there in were best known to Emily until her death when they were opened to all and sundry.

The thematic concern brought out by Faulkner throughout the story is that of death, loss and isolation. There are the incidents of death starting with that of Emily’s father, Emily’s lover Homer and even Emily herself. When a person dies, it is thought that that person’s life comes to an end and ceases to exist physically, but emotionally the dead person remains in the lives of those living, therefore letting go.

On the contrary, Faulkner paints Miss Emily as one who emotionally and physically cannot be disentangled from her father and lover even at death (Faulkner 3), that is why she does not want to let off the bodies’ of the dead father and lover. Death therefore looms all through the story courtesy of the evilness of Emily.

One can therefore attribute Faulkner as a literary hero having applied the technicalities of literary devices in his work in the short story A Rose for Emily. The use of themes, and stylistic features used by Faulkner are of course useful in building the plot of the story all the way up to its climax. The point of narration as well as symbolism as a stylistic feature and the theme of death have helped in showing how beautiful and interesting a piece of fictional work can be when well structured and built (Meyers 48)

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. London. Language Publication. 2009. Pp. 1 – 72.

Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. New York. St. Martins. 2010. 9th Edition. pp 48 – 520.


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