Death and Decay: How Theme Unfolds by Irony in “a Rose for Emily”

Topics: Roman numerals, Irony, Death Pages: 3 (842 words) Published: April 7, 2013
Death and Decay: How Theme Unfolds by Irony in “A Rose for Emily” It is difficult to confront reality with insane and indulging concepts. In “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner creates a theme that the past is preserved in a bizarre way, but is eventually overthrown by decay and death. The protagonist is shaped as a banal and eccentric figure of the past generation living in the southern US in the early twentieth century. Throughout the story, Emily Grierson is attached to the deceased: her father, and most dreadfully, her lover Homer Barron. The theme of the story is affected by the use of situational irony, as Emily is constantly struggling with the force of death that she tries to control the bodies of her father and Homer, but she can never control her own life. The first situational irony is Emily’s reaction to her father’s death. In that short paragraph, the reader is able to perceive Emily’s perverted attitude towards the situation, as she “ dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead” (Faulkner 1018). The narration shows that Emily is not admitting her father’s death, as she rejects lamentation and funeral. Her reaction is so different from a conscious person who should be uncontrollably grieved upon the loss of his/her love. She is even more peculiar as she refuses to bury her father after three days when urged by the ministers and doctors, and without their forces, she would keep the paternal love forever with her. With her father’s body buried, the only way Emily could preserve his love is the crayon portrait on the easel by the fireplace, which she believes that he is perpetually guarding her. The greatest situational irony is Emily’s murder of Homer and the preservation of his corpse in her upstairs room for more than thirty years. For Emily, the characteristic of love is to control, affected by her father who managed her life by driving away the suitors that he believed unsatisfying. In a...
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