A Rose for Emily

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Literary Analysis for “A Rose for Emily”

Sometimes a Rose is Not a Rose:
A Literary Analysis of “A Rose for Emily”

In the short story “A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulkner, the negative impact of Emily’s upbringing by an overprotective father, leads to incredible pattern in her life and the obvious mental illness that takes over as she not so graciously ages. While written in five sections, the first and last section is written in present time, and the three middle sections in past tense. To set the stage for Emily’s drastic transformation from young girl to elderly woman, Faulkner uses characterization, setting and narration to show Emily’s lost state of mind and her desire to find and keep love at all cost as. Although the story starts out with the funeral of Miss Emily Grierson, we are immediately shown her stubbornness when it comes to paying her taxes and her denial that she owes anything. While the townspeople readily admit they feel sorry for Emily, they were also consumed by her every movement. She starts out as a beautiful young woman courted by many, but ends up “a small, fat woman in black…her skeleton was small and spare” (Faulkner, Section 2). It has been written that “A Rose for Emily” is “a tragic tale of a woman’s noble but doomed effort to resist the forces of time” (Sullivan). She is sheltered by her father as she grows up, which leads to her reclusiveness, lack of friendships and her inability to live a happy, healthy life. It is apparent that she is a product of her environment. When she is finally hit with the realization that her father is dead, she refuses to let them take his body until “just as they were about to resort to law and force” (Faulkner, Section 2). Her inability to let go is once again

apparent when she kills Homer Barron with arsenic because he did not want to marry her. We are left with the thought that Emily slept next to him after he was deceased even though it was at her own...
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