Reflections On Reading A Rose For Emily

Topics: William Faulkner, Sartoris, Short story Pages: 5 (836 words) Published: March 29, 2015


Reflections on Reading "A Rose for Emily"
James Lewis
ENG/125
October 22, 2014
Geraldine Smith

Reflections on Reading "A Rose for Emily"
William Faulkner’s short story, "A Rose for Emily", follows one of the author’s main themes in many of his later works, i.e. the racial and societal divides that continued in the South after its defeat of the Civil War. One believes, Faulkner, being born and raised in the Deep South writes with a close working knowledge racism, classism and cultural divisions. Faulkner himself was not a racist, although most of his family was. Faulkner after all was raised from birth by a black woman, Caroline Barr (Callie), whom he loved dearly and called mother. "A Rose for Emily" is set in Faulkner’s imaginary town of Jefferson Mississippi, in an even more imaginary county of Yoknapatawpha where many if not most of his literary works, considered Southern literature, are centered. Emily, it seems is a woman who wants to be loved and have a family, but it appears the men in her life are forever leaving, be it by death or choice. Emily has difficulties dealing with this fact of life and handles each situation badly. In "A Rose for Emily" William Faulkner presents a picture of a woman whose father had desperately wanted to keep her protect. By limiting her social activity with the opposite sex, keeping her close, he kept her dependent on him. Years after the war ended, Emily and her father lived as if they were still part of the antebellum Southern aristocracy, neither willing to commit her to a marriage below her perceived social standing. Thus, when Emily believed she had found a true love, it appears she became dependent on him as well. This dependency would explain why when her father died she refused to give up the body for burial for three days, exclaiming her father not to be dead. It would also explain why she became depressed and more reclusive when she perceived her true love, Homer Barron, would abandon her because he had publicly stated that he liked men and also was not the marrying kind. Homer Barron is depicted as somewhat opposite of Emily. She being rather reserved and dignified, while Homer was the loud, bodacious, brazen type, and a drinking man to boot. He was from the North, a laborer, and well below her perceived social status, which caused the townsfolk to question their relationship and reach out to some of Emily’s distant relatives. Soon two of Emily’s cousins arrived in town, before long it became apparent to the townsfolk that they had a worst attitude then Emily. Faulkner’s short story about Emily starts at the end of life with the entire town gathering at her funeral. He goes on to explain the towns attitude toward Emily’s death, of how the men of Jefferson considered her to be an icon, a representation of an earlier time. The women came mainly to be nosey, many having tried gaining access to Emily’s home on occasion, only to be summarily ejected. One can analyze much about A Rose for Emily through the characters in the story although there is little description of any other than Emily and Homer. Still one can easily visualize Emily’s father a picture of southern elitism, Colonel Sartoris a proper southern gentleman, who believed black woman could only be servants, old men dressed in their confederate uniforms. One’s imagination need not stray too far for the mind’s eye to see the face of the druggist as he looks away from the gaze of Emily’s cold dark eyes. William Faulkner’s short story, "A Rose for Emily" concludes with a twist, one was suspicious when Emily brought poison and would not elaborate on the reason, personally I never believed she would use it on herself, but a lover gone astray? I remember when I was a young lad our neighbor, Jay Cotton, was found in his bed. Rumor had it he had been dead for month. His wife was put in jail for murder but soon released. Years later I was told that she got away with it because he was a womanizing drunk who...
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