12 February 2009
“A Rose for Emily” Literary Analysis
In “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner uses setting, character development, and stylistic devices to express the mystery of Emily and the somewhat gossip-obsessed attitude the townspeople have towards Emily.
Faulkner uses the setting to convey the mystery surrounding Emily and her actions. For example, Faulkner writes “ knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier.” This quote shows the mystery of her house and how nobody knows what is in it or what goes on inside of it. The townspeople are wondering what goes on behind Miss Emily’s closed doors. Also the townspeople give off a very southern racist attitude when he writes:
The Construction company came with niggers and mules
and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a
Yankee—a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter
than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss
the niggers, and the niggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks.(pg.650) Clearly one can see how the story takes place in a southern town. The setting affects how we look at the character because we are looking through the eyes of the townspeople. The southerners believed that she needed to act a certain way so that put a lot of pressure on Miss Emily to act rich like her family was even though she is poor. For example, she” demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson.”(pg.651)
Another writing tool Faulkner uses is the change in Miss Emily’s character. At first Miss Emily is “ a slender figure in white in the background” but then years later she is described as:
a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending
to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane
with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare;...