The story centers on Miss Emily Grierson who can be perceived as an aristocratic woman who is loved by most people in her community. The admiration places Emily on a pedestal as she is viewed as a fallen monument. Opposite of what the community sees her, a reader realizes that Emily is not only a murderer or rather kills her lover using poison but also preserves the dead body in her house and lays next to the corpse for plenty of years. The reason for ending his life is not indicated but the ending emphasizes the length of time the Emily might have laid next to the corpse in which the narrator states that it took long some time for the people in Emilys town to discover a long strand of iron-gray hair (Faulkner) which was on a pillow to where the corpse was laying. To understand the role of Emily as the main character of the story, the analysis puts into view the historical background of the story, Emilys characterization and the view that the use of Rose in the title by William Faulkner acts as a symbol of love that Emily should have but never had, admiration for her representing the tradition that the community is proud of and the mourning of her death.
On the historical background, it is perceived that the story includes a conflict between cultural beliefs and generations and the order in which events are emplotted wreaks havoc with chronology, (Harris 172). This is symbolized by the conflict that existed between Emily and the people of the town in regards to the societal order. Both the narrator and the townspeople can be viewed as curious when it comes to understanding Emilys life especially since she lived in solitude and her servant only spoke less to others. The narrator begins the story by highlighting Emilys death and then presents a chronological order of events before her death in which the mystery on her life is revealed at the end: killing and laying with Homers dead body. The chronological order of events is perceived to highlight episodes of her life in regards to the relationship between her and the townspeople, her father and Homer (Harris 173).
On characterization, it is perceived that Emily Griersons isolation and retreat to her home after the desertion of her lover, Homer Barron, indicates a self-protective and defiant behavior which is viewed as a passive resistance towards a community which is controlled by masculine virtues. Identifies the masculine virtues in regards to courtliness, strength and moral rectitude, (Kriewald 4). Emily is perceived to contain an iron will and a dignified ability whereby she is at odds of ensuring gentility with her society. Emily can also be perceived to put herself above the law. She does not hold a political position when compared to individuals such as judge Stevens, Colonel Sartoris, and the Aldermen board members. However, she appears to have a significant influence on her community. Kriewald states, her position can be seen as analogous to that of the sovereign in a constitutional monarchy, (5).
On the storys title, Obrien explains that the author viewed the title as the story whereby Emily is depicted as women worth being handed a rose (OBrien 101). The narrator introduces her as a fallen monument (Faulkner) which implies that she was highly regarded by the people in her town or rather being looked upon. The concept of Rose is viewed to appear six times in the whole story including its variants. They include, rise rising rose-shaded and rose color. A good example is the description of the interaction between Emily and the townsmen in which the men attempt to convince her to clear her taxes. Rose, in this case, is used as a verb in which the narrator states, as the town leaders sat down faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, (Faulkner) followed by the statement, they rose when she entered, (Faulkner). It can be perceived that the men rising indicate the admiration for her representing the tradition that the community is proud of. In the scenario, Rose stands but does not request the men to sit. Nonetheless, they sit in which dust rises during the process. On the rose acting as a symbol of love that Emily should have but never had, Obrien explains that the Rose may depict Emily as a treasured memory. Homer Barron is perceived as her romantic rose that illustrates Emily was experiencing love at some point in her life (OBrien 101). OBrien explains that the rose symbolizes, the puzzling love between Homer and Emily and, through Oedipal implications, as some commentators and Faulkner himself have insisted, between Emily and her father, (OBrien 101). The presence of flowers in Emilys funeral depicts the rose as a symbol illustrating mourning of Emilys death. The narrator explains that the funeral included a mass of bought flowers, (Faulkner).
As stated earlier, to understand the role of Emily as the main character of the story, the analysis puts into view the historical background of the story, Emilys characterization and the view that the use of Rose in the title by William Faulkner acts as a symbol of love that Emily should have but never had, admiration for her representing the tradition that the community is proud of and the mourning of her death. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner can be viewed to be gothic in regards to the associated events. The mystery, which comes as a surprise at the end of the story, reveals a side of Emily which was not familiar to the narrator or the townspeople. It can only be assumed that the possible cause of Homers death is his refusal to engage in a justified marital system with Emily as the narrator described him as homosexual. Emilys desire to be with him possibly influenced her to kill him and stay with his corpse as a way of staying with him till death.
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily.Harris, Paul A. "In Search Of Dead Time: Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"." Kronoscope, vol 7, no. 2, 2007, pp. 169-183. Brill Academic Publishers, doi: 10.1163/156852407x249025.
Kriewald, Gary L. The Widow of Windsor and the Spinster of Jefferson. The Faulkner Journal.
OBrien, Timothy. Why a Rose for Emily? The Faulkner Journal.
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