“A Rose for Emily” is a short story by William Faulkner. It was first published in 1930. The story is set in the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi, in the early 20th century. The narrator is an unnamed person who knows the characters and tells the story from a third-person limited point of view.
The story revolves around the relationship between Emily Grierson, a young southern belle, and Homer Barron, a laborer from the North. Emily’s father dies, and she becomes reclusive. Homer begins courting her, but eventually leaves town. Emily kills him and keeps his body in her house for years before finally burying it.
The story covers a span of several decades, and the characters’ attitudes and actions are shaped by the social mores of the time. “A Rose for Emily” is a study in character development. Faulkner creates a complex portrait of Emily Grierson that reveals her gradual mental decline.
Through the use of flashbacks, he shows how her father’s controlling behavior has stunted her emotional growth. Homer Barron is also a well-developed character. His arrival in Jefferson represents change, and his relationship with Emily is an attempt to break free from the stifling confines of southern society.
The story is also a commentary on the changes that were taking place in the South at the time it was written. The Jim Crow laws were still in effect, and African Americans were treated as second-class citizens. Women were expected to marry and have children, and they were not given the same opportunities as men. Faulkner examines these themes through the characters of Emily Grierson and Homer Barron.
“A Rose for Emily” is a classic example of Faulkner’s use of stream of consciousness. He uses flashbacks to give the reader a glimpse into Emily’s past, and we see her thoughts and feelings about her father, Homer, and the changes that are taking place in Jefferson. The story is also notable for its use of symbolism. The rose that Emily gives to Homer represents her love for him, but it can also be seen as a symbol of her mental decline. The rotting smell that comes from her house is a symbol of the decay of the Griersons’ once-proud family.
“A Rose for Emily” is a fascinating story that provides a glimpse into the psychology of a southern belle who is struggling to come to terms with change. Faulkner’s use of symbols and stream of consciousness gives the reader a rich understanding of Emily Grierson and the world she lives in.
There is a fascinating character in the short story A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner. Her name is Emily Grierson, and she’s a wealthy southern gentile. It appeared as if she had been raised above the rest of society throughout her life. She had no one to tell her what to do or how to react after her father died. This was quite devastating, and she struggled with change.
Emily shut out the world and became a recluse. The townspeople would gossip about her and her odd behavior. People would see her peeking out the windows and darting back in as if she were hiding from something or someone. They also knew that she never opened her door to visitors and if you happened to catch a glimpse of her, she always seemed to be looking over her shoulder.
Emily’s father was very controlling when he was alive and it seems as if she could not let go of that control even after he died. She held on to him in many ways, one of which was by never allowing anyone to enter into her home after his death. It is as if she wanted to keep him alive by keeping everything the same.
She was so attached to her father’s corpse that she wouldn’t allow the police to remove it from the property for three days after his death. The only thing unchangeable in her house was the slave who was forced to serve her. In this composition, I believe the author takes an outside perspective on Emily to give you room to make your own decisions about her. This is a wonderful technique of doing it as it leaves you with an open-ended opinion. You may hold a variety of thoughts regarding her, with one being that she is entirely insane.
A second opinion of her could be that she is completely misunderstood. Faulkner does a good job of not giving too much information about her so that the reader can make their own decision.
The townspeople thought very highly of Miss Emily, she was a Grierson and they felt honored to know her. “When Miss Emily died, our whole town went to her 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” (Faulkner). Everyone in the town wanted to know what was going on behind those big white walls of hers. They hadn’t seen her in years and some people were beginning to think that maybe she was dead.
The town was very interested in her and her life, but she wanted nothing to do with them. The only man that she ever showed any interest in was Homer Barron. He was a Yankee that came to town to work on the streets. Miss Emily took an interest in him and soon they were seen together quite frequently.
The townspeople didn’t approve of this relationship because they felt that Homer wasn’t good enough for her. They were even more upset when he started spending nights at her house. “They were glad enough, all of them, to see the two become acquainted, but each privately wished that Judge Stevens or Colonel Sartoris would put a stop to it before it went too far” (Faulkner).
The townspeople got their wish when Homer Barron disappeared and was not seen again. Miss Emily went back to living her life the way she did before he came into her life. She became a recluse and never left her house again. The only contact that she had with the outside world was through her servant, Tobe. The townspeople would see Tobe going in and out of the house, but they never saw Miss Emily.
Miss Emily died in her sleep one evening and the whole town came to her funeral. They were curious to see what was going on inside her house and if she had any family left. After the funeral, Tobe came out of the house carrying a box. The townspeople were curious about what was in the box, but they never found out because Tobe dropped it and ran away.
The townspeople never really knew Miss Emily, but they felt that they understood her. They thought that they knew her better than she knew herself. In reality, they only knew the parts of her that she wanted them to know. She was a mystery to them and I think that’s what Faulkner wanted. He wanted the reader to make their own decisions about her and he accomplished that by not giving too much information about her.
This is the first and simplest conclusion to reach. It would be simple to believe this way if you didn’t read with much care and analysis of the character. The next feeling is the most powerful one for me; it’s pity for her. Leading a life that has been planned for you by someone else would not be difficult at all. In ancient times, when this narrative takes place, women were not supposed to make decisions or judgments on their own in the old south. Women were meant to be docile and powerless under the control of superior men who knew what was best for them.
A life that requires so little of you would be considered a good thing. A life where you have no real choices or responsibilities is one that people would envy because they are the ones that have to make all the decisions and suffer the consequences if something goes wrong. It is easy to pity someone when you think about how hard your own life is in comparison.
The last and most complicated emotion I felt was anger towards her. A large part of my anger came from wanting her to fight back more. A big example of this is when she kills Homer Barron. Emily has been told her whole life what she can and cannot do, she has never stood up for herself. This moment could have been her opportunity to take control of her life and instead she just took another life.
A life that could have been hers if she had just fought back a little more. Even when she is old and decrepit she still does not try to take care of herself, instead letting the house fall apart around her. I think that this anger also came from being lied to throughout the story. Every time it seems like we as the reader are getting close to understanding her, Faulkner hits us with another curve ball that changes everything.
The character of Emily Grierson in A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner shows us a woman who is unable to move on with her life. Emily is stuck in the past and unable to adapt to change, which ultimately leads to her downfall.