Essay, Research Paper: Rose For Emily

Literature: William Faulkner

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The Reason the main character, Emily Grierson, in William Faulkner’s “A Rose
for Emily” murdered her lover, Homer Barron, was a combined contribution of
the society she lived in. The cousin’s snootiness and high expectations of the
Grierson family legacy made it difficult for Emily and Homer to be together as a
couple. “The two female cousins were more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever
been.” (5) The cousins would keep Emily in line because they were more
aristrocatic, therefore forcing Emily into keeping the family name pure by not
being with a labor worker who often got drunk and liked men. The cousins had a
talk with Emily, which drove Homer out for a short period of time. For fear of
Homer leaving her, she ventured to the local pharmacy to purchase arsenic (then
used as rat poison) for what she believed might be the only way to keep the man
she loved from leaving her. Emily’s father scared all her suitors away,
believing that she was too good for all of them, which in turn left her single
at a very old age. Emily’s over-possessive, father traumatized her into
believing that she would be alone all of her life. “The ‘Patrimony of a
man’ destroys Emily as her father smothers her with over-protectiveness. He
prevents her from courting anymore” (Internet 1). Her father never gave her
the opportunity of a happy, joyful family life, which every person deserves. Her
father never gave her the opportunity of a happy, joyful family life, which
every person deserves. When her father died and she found someone she liked, she
instantly became attached to this man and was not willing to let him go.
“Emily decides she will be vindictive, she will have her man”(Internet 2).
Emily chose the first man possible in a sort of way to lash back at the father
who never allowed her to have what she desired the most, companionship. With her
father now deceased, she had complete freedom in choosing and keeping any suitor
she found acceptable. Having never had the opportunity, Emily had no concept of
how to treat and be a companion to the opposite sex. This would explain the
unbreakable attachment to the first man who came along, Homer Barron. In a way
she took what she could get at that moment thinking that there might never be
another chance for her again, therefore she settled for Homer Barron. All of the
town’s pity, gossip, and assumptions about Emily and her family brought on
more stress and insanity about keeping the Grierson name aristocratic and clean.
In essence, she was living up to the family standards set by that of her local
society. “Her father and the townsfolk that see her as an untouchable idol
perpetrate this dementia; the loneliness that they force her to endure is
maddening” (Internet 1). At times the town felt sorrow for her and had
thoughts of consoling her but never actually put them into action. They always
let her endure everything she was suffering on her own. Although they no longer
had any reason to be, the women of the town still felt a pang of jealousy
towards her family aristocracy and history. The women, to satisfy their own
consciences, acted as if they actually felt sympathy for Emily, where in all
honesty, not a single one cared for her in any way. The town merely wanted to
put up a false front. Homer Baron, who was very inconsiderate and casual about
her past, contributed to his own murder. Homer Barron was a bi-sexual, Yankee,
drunk who was going to leave her after he had his way with her. She knew this
from the town’s gossip and she was growing more and more insecure about Homer.
“We can imagine, however the outcome might have been had Homer Barron, who was
not the marrying man, succeeded, in the town’s eyes, in seducing her and then
deserting her.” (Short Story criticisms 150) Homer was seen drinking at the
bar with men and it was known that he was interested in men. Homer was never
really intending to stay long term with Emily. He was just a passer by who was
only there for road construction. “And when she lost him she could see that
for her that was the end of life, there was nothing left except to grow older,
alone, solitary.” (Internet 2) The thing she feared the most was being alone
with no companion. Emily had endured all of this from her father too long and
she was not going to stand for this. Emily’s Insanity and loneliness drove her
to murder her lover and keep him in a room where she could rest at ease that he
would never leave her. “Denied a normal Romantic and sexual life, Emily
becomes unable to distinguish between reality and illusion” (Modern fiction
stories 687). She was to the point where to her having a dead lover was more
secure to her than having a live one who might leave her at any moment. She
wanted security and she obtained it by killing Homer and sleeping with him every
night. She wanted to keep time still. Emily had a problem with time.
“Emily’s small room above the stairs has become that timeless meadow. In it,
the living Emily and the dead Homer have remained together not even death could
separate them.”(Short Story Criticism 150) Even when her father died she was
unwilling to accept his departure. She refused to have him buried.
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