A Rose Emily

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Abcarian and Klotz define the Human Condition as, “Man strives to give order and meaning to his life, to reduce the mystery and unpredictability that constantly threaten him. Life is infinitely more complex and surprising than we imagine, and the categories we establish to give it order and meaning are, for the most part, “momentary stays against confusion.” At any time, the equilibrium of our lives, the comfortable image of ourselves and the world around us, may be disrupted suddenly by something new, forcing us into painful reevaluation. These disruptions create pain, anxiety, and even terror but also wisdom and awareness.” The above quote states that all people learn by the same process. Initially there is a disruption. This is followed by an emotional response. The emotional response calls for action which will rectify the disruption. Once this is done, the person gains knowledge from the experience. Emily in the short story, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner (rpt. In Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense, 10th ed. [Boston: Wadsworth, 2009] 526-534) is an example of a character who is altered by an aspect of the Human Condition.

Emily’s disruption was the death of her father. Emily did not do well with change, and her fathers death was a painful disruption that she had to figure out how to deal with. Before he passed away, her family held themselves higher than everyone else in town. Emily felt as though no men were good enough for her, thus she wound up thirty and alone. Once her father passed away, all she had left was the house he left her. Now she was no longer superior to the towns people, she was humanized.

Her emotional response was her state of denial. After his death, the ladies of the town stopped by to offer their condolences and aid, but Miss Emily told them straight-faced that her father was not dead. She convinced herself that her father had not passed away, and for 3 days she refused to let...
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