Essay, Research Paper: Rose For Emily

Literature: William Faulkner

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"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner is a remarkable tale of Miss
Emily Grierson, whose funeral drew the attention of the entire population of
Jefferson a small southern town. Miss Emily was raised in the ante-bellum period
before the Civil War in the south. An unnamed narrator, who is consider to be
"the town" or at least the collaborative voice of it, aligns key
moments in Emily's life, including the death of her father and her brief
relationship with a man form the north named Homer Barron. In short this story
explains Miss Emily's strict and repetitive ways and the sullen curiosity that
the towns people have shown toward her. Rising above the literal level of
Emily's narrative, the story basically addresses the symbolic changes in the
South after the civil war. Miss Emily's house symbolizes neglect, and
improvishment in the new times in the town of Jefferson. Beginning with Miss
Emily Grierson's funeral, throughout the story Faulkner foreshadows the ending
and suspenseful events in Miss Emily's life, and Miss Emily's other impending
circumstances. "A Rose for Emily" tells the tale of a young woman who
lives and abides by her father's strict rational. The rampant symbolism and
Falkner's descriptions of the decaying house, coincide with Miss Emily's
physical and emotional decay, and also emphasize her mental degeneration, and
further illustrate the outcome of Falkner's story. Miss Emily's decaying house,
not only lacks genuine love and care, but so douse she in her adult life, but
more so during her childhood. The pertinence of Miss Emily's house in relation
to her physical appearance is brought on by constant neglect and unappreatation.
As an example, the house is stituated in what was once a prominent neighborhood
that has now deteriorated. Originally the house was, " It was a big,
squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires
and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the
seventies"(Falkner 80) of an earlier time, now many of the towns people see
that the house has become "an eyesore among eyesores". Through lack of
attention, the house has deteriorated from a beautiful estate, to an ugly
desolate shack. Similarly, Miss Emily has also become an eyesore in the
following various ways. An example, she is first described as a "fallen
monument" to suggest her former grandeur and her later ugliness. Miss Emily
might have stayed out of the public eye after these two deaths which left her
finally alone, something she was not used to. When Miss Emily died Jefferson
lost a prominent monument of the Old South. This story by Falkner contains a
high rate of symbolism thoroughly distributed and revealed by shady
foreshadowing. Just as the house has, Miss Emily has lost her beauty. Once she
had been a beautiful woman, who later becomes obese and bloated. In this post
civil war town, the great estate and Miss Emily has suffered the toll of time
and neglect. As the exterior, the interior of the house as well resembles Miss
Emily's increasing decent and the growing sense of sadness that accompanies such
a downfall. All that is told of the inside of Miss Emily's house is a dim hall,
where a staircase is mounted into descending darkness, with the house smelling
of foul odors. The combined darkness and odor of the house relate with Miss
Emily in some of the following ways, with her dry and cold voice as if it were
scrappy and dry from disuse just like her house. The similarity between the
inside of the house and Miss Emily extends to the mantel, where there is a
portrait of her father and Miss Emily sitting there. Internally and externally,
both Miss Emily's building and her body are in a state of deterioration and
tarnishment like a metallic material. An example is when she refused to let the
"new guard" attach metal numbers above her door and fasten a mailbox
when the town received free mail service. This reflected Miss Emily's unyielding
and stubborn persona caused by and related to her father's strict treatment of
her when she was young. In ending, the citizen's illustrations of both house and
its occupant relate a common unattractive presence. As an example, Faulkner
expresses a lot of the resident's opinions towards Emily and her family's
history. The citizens or the narrator mention old lady Wyatt, Miss Emily's great
aunt who had gone completely mad. Most of these opinions seem to result from
female citizens of the town because of their nosy and a gossipy approach toward
Miss Emily. In one point that Falkner makes, the house is described to be
stubborn and unrelenting, as if to ignore the surrounding decay. Similarly Miss
Emily proudly surveys her deteriorating once-grand estate. As her father Miss
Emily possesses an unrelenting outlook towards life, and she refuses to change.
Miss Emily's father never left her alone, and when he died Homer Barron was a
treat that she was never allowed to have and served as a replacement for her
father's love. Miss Emily's stubborn attitude is definitely attributed to her
father's strict teachings. Miss Emily lies to herself as she denies her father's
death, refuses to discuss or pay taxes, ignores town gossip about her being a
fallen woman, and does not reveal to the druggist why she is purchasing arsenic.
Both the house and Miss Emily become traps for a representation of the early
twentieth century, to which is Homer Barron, laborer, outsider, and confirmed
bachelor is the complete paradox. Homer described himself as a man who couldn't
be tied down and is always on the move. This leaves Miss Emily in a terrible
position. As the story winds down, Emily seems to prove Homer wrong. As the town
ladies continue to show surmounting sympathy towards Emily, although she never
hears of it verbally. She is well aware of the distant whispers that begin when
her presence is near. Some of the major contributing factors to Emily's behavior
are gossip and whispers that may have been the causes for her ghastly behavior.
The theme of Falkner's story is quite simple, Miss Emily cannot except the fact
that times are changing and society is growing and changing with the times. As
this dilemma ensues she isolates herself from civilization, using her butler to
run her errands so she doesn't have to talk much. The setting of Falknes story
is highly essential because it defines Miss Emily's tight grasp of ante-bellum
ways and unchanging demeanor. Just as the house seems to reject progress and
updating, so does Miss Emily, until both of them become decaying symbols of
their dying generation. Through descriptions of the house resemble descriptions
of Mss Emily Grierson, "A Rose for Emily" emphasizes the beauty and
elegance can become distorted through neglect and lack of love and affection. As
the house deteriorates for forty years until it becomes ugly and unappealing,
Miss Emily's physical appearance and emotional well being decay in the same way.
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