A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner was created with authentic insights about a woman who can not accept change. Emily was a spinster who was seen as a lonely and impoverished woman who was so attached to the past.
It was a beautiful story of a woman that shuts herself off from the rest of the world simply because she cannot accept change. The story is about community versus isolation, unity versus exclusion, fate, death and love unheard. It was also a story of how a person’s life can impact and influence the community.
William Faulkner used descriptive imagery that will challenge the mind of a reader about the culture during that time. The story started with descriptive statements of Emily’s death and flashes back in time that examines the events of her life.
The description was so useful to analyze the effects of time and the nature of the past and the present. The narrator tries to deliver his message with the means of flashbacking. The story begins with Emily’s death at the age of 74 and flashes back to the near distant past of Emily’s life. She was a character who was so attached in the tradition of the past that she continually personifies until her death.
Faulkner used the pronoun ‘we’ which tells that the narrator is some of the townspeople sympathizing Emily. It is a well structured and detailed events of Emily’s life the will give a deeper understanding why there is pride and isolation in her character. Emily’s structured character brought her to an unlucky fate. The story tells how Emily copes and accepted the nature of time, change and chance.
Emily’s father who represents the ruling class of the South contributed most in the construction of her pride and arrogance. Emily was raised in an upper class home which made them prominent in the community. She perceived herself as rich and powerful which motivated her poise and bearing. Their position in the community had unconsciously taught her to hold herself high from the surrounding people even after her father’s death.
As time passes by, perspective about class and status change. Emily’s house described by the narrator stands for the decay of the society as the watch represents time. People accepted the changes of time and ideas. But Emily who was a complex and well developed character chose not to adapt. This made her a grotesque or unique personality in the setting that encouraged the townspeople to analyze her life. The Negro who was an obedient gardener and cook and who provides Emily’s basic and practical need is also symbolic in the story.
This man connects Emily outside her small world. But even his character isolates himself to the community because of fear. Fear of the unknown that he may disclose something about Emily that will disdain his loyalty. But the Negro man unconsciously killed her relationship with the world outside and supported Emily’s violence against herself.
The rose in the story represents affection. It is affection given by the narrator to Emily. Other people may perceive Emily’s pride and violence as something immoral, but the narrator’s point of view towards Emily is different. He clearly sympathize with Emily and understands the reason how Emily constructed such character. The narrator justified her through presenting series of events about her past. She was a victim of bitterness and complete attachment.
The community itself during her father’s time constructed her different reality that made her of what she became. I can also suggest that the rose in the story represents Emily’s love for Homer. It represents the soft side of Emily which the outside world can not see. She was perceived differently by the people as a scandalous and proud. But Emily like any other needs love and affection. Her love was violent and harsh though which represents the thorns of the rose.
The narrator gave detailed events of Emily’s history which suggests the gossip nature of the southern town where everyone knows everybody else. In the beginning of the story, the author emphasized those women in town had a different perspective in attending Emily’s funeral. Emily was respected by the men of the town but women were driven by curiosity.
This suggests the domestic nature of women that time that seems more concern to the detailed events of Emily’s life. Women wanted to appease their long curiosity. Most of the time ladies in town find Emily’s scandalous and unusual. They find Emily a threat to the community. She was a symbol of the past.
Other reader may perceive this horrifying when the people in town discovered the secret of Emily after her death. She has kept the body of her lover named Homer Baron locked in a separate bedroom after she killed him years before.
But the body was not alone. The Northern man had been locked with an embrace since behind the indented pillow was a strand of iron-gray hair of Emily. The dead man had not died without love and attention. It was a horrifying in a way that Homer’s death was not given a social justice. But it was sad for Emily who wanted to give love and be loved but the circumstances and public opinion will no permit her so. The morality of Miss Emily Grierson was not justified in the end of the story.
The consequences of her isolation and pride made the townspeople pity her all the more. However, her solitude made her missed significant chances of her happiness. Though destiny and fate is a choice but we must reconsider the factors that influenced Emily’s choices. The narrator was so clever on how he presented Emily not as an antagonist but a woman that has to be sympathized which made me see her as a victim.
The story suggests how modernization and change can affect people. Not all people can enjoy change especially when these people enjoy the comfort of who they are in the past. Like Emily who can not accept change because she was afraid she may not get the same respect that she received before. But as a consequence, she was decline by the people around her. Her pride and arrogance unconsciously affected her choices that define her fate and destiny.
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