“ A Rose for Emily”
In “A Rose for Emily,” we truly found out how strange Emily became as story went on, and how she lived a life that was secretive and hideous until the day she died. William Faulkner’s skillful use of words and time allows much insight into the life of Miss Emily without ever hinting at her struggle with death. Faulkner’s reference to the Old South and his unconventional plot lures his readers to places he wants them to be, giving them just enough to keep them in suspense. He uses subtle clues to foreshadow a ghastly outcome. References to smell, decay, and Miss Emily’s corpse like appearance all guide his readers to the climatic end’s ultimate irony. In choosing a simple town folk as his narrator Faulkner keeps intimacy at bay. The people in Emily’s community saw her as the recluse on the hill, and would not be aware of everything occurring in her life. This would allow Faulkner his ending. Anyone closer to Emily, say for instance Toby, would know too much, and how would this cause the readers to know to much. Faulkner’s anachronistic plot sets the reader up for he changes that occur and does not allow for a normal chain of events. Depending on ones culture and background of a reader one may point out different purposes that Faulkner might have had for writing this story. Some may say that this is a story of rebellion. Was Emily rebelling against her father’s iron will by having a “sorbid” love affair with a Yankee? Was Emily rebelling against a town that held her confined to social graces and obligations? Others may say that this is a story that hints at North and South. Homer would represent the North, the Yankee of lower stature, while Emily would be an aristocrat of the South. Yet others may decide that the story is speaking to those desperately trying to cling to the old South. Closer analysis may indicate that “A Rose for Emily” is a story about time and fallen monuments. Miss Emily was a great figure of her town, an aristocrat. All the townspeople looked at her as a role model for the community, as an “idol,” so why did Faulkner not put Miss Emily, instead of just plain ole Emily. “As time passed Emily’s status would begin to damper with the next generation, with it’s more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, she became Emily instead of Miss Emily,” assuring a fall from grace, social grace. Time seems to be the essence of the story, that little thing that many sections have in common. Emily sees herself as exempt; She was exempt from taxes, so she was exempt from time. Faulkner’s changing descriptions of Emily, the next more degrading than the one before, show Emily’s physical submission to time. Emily changes from a slender girl to a tragic and serene girl after her father’s death into a “bloated” figure after Homer’s “disappearance.” These descriptions show Faulkner’s contrast between past and present, She may be against change, but even she can not combat the effect of aging, growing steadily older: “the next few years” her hair “grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even salt and pepper iron gray, when it stop turning.” At Emily’s father’s death we again see a clue from the present that foreshadows the grim future. The “town narrator” comments “We did not say she was crazy then,” hinting perhaps “we” do say she is crazy now or will say she is crazy. Finally, we can say that “A Rose for Emily” is a story about time by simply looking at the historical depiction of men frozen in time “in their brushed confederate uniforms.” “Time with it’s mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years,”, just as these men, Emily was not exempt from the effects of time. She attempted to stop time, to retreat into the past, taking Homer with her “in the only way that she could.”...
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