A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner’s popular short story entitled A Rose for Emily is about the eccentric life of Ms. Emily and it is narrated from a third person. It seems that the narrator is telling the story from outside looking inwards, and have their version of the story on why Emily died. In the entire story, there is an incorporation of Emily, the past, and the future. Furthermore, the town is described in detail. The first scene tells about the funeral of Emily and it is evident that men respected her and women were curious to see how the inside of her house looks like. No one ever saw a servant, a cook or gardener in the last years before she passed. Based on the narration of her story, she was a mystery to the town’s citizens.
The author uses a style of Foreshadowing so that readers will not be shocked when there is a huge revelation at the last part of the story. An event of foreshadowing is when Emily bought arsenic and she refused to know about anyone’s death. The other motifs in the story include repeated references regarding Emily’s funeral, corpses, the cemetery, the law, taxes, hair, and doors. The pattern of these motifs contradict or are parallel with one another, at times symbolic, ironic, and it naturally flows from a lot of shared elements in the author’s mind.
The majority of the story’s discussions are concentrated on Emily who is aristocratic and received a lot of admiration from the community that keeps her on a pedestal. What the community does not know is that Emily poisoned her lover, but kept his body for years so she can sleep beside him in the bedroom. The story is ended by the emphasis on how long Emily must have kept her dead lover’s body, but it was long enough for them to find a strong of iron-gray hair. Emily’s dead lover, Homer Barron had a profound and fleshless grin on his face when they saw his corpse.
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The untold part of the plot summary is about Emily experiencing misery while living with her father. The pain of having to let go of chances to get married comes right before the death of her father. She is left with no one to connect with and neglected by society. She becomes isolated from society and loses her social role. Left with no friend to call when she needed someone to talk to, she meets this man from the lower class who appears to be gay whom she formed an affair with. Emily knows that her father would not like this, but she keeps considering him even if he already died. If the man chooses to leave, Emily will have nothing else precious to her. Her life is eccentric, takes the life of her lover, and keeps the corpse beside her until her death.
Even if the initial reaction of readers is full of disgust, Faulkner combined two techniques that keeps the story intriguing. There is suspense, mixed chronology of events, and the narrator’s changing point of view. It is able to emphasize the strength of Emily, her pride and detachment. This lessens the tragedy and repulsion of her actions.
The story shows the tragedy and sadness of life that no one can control. There are times when a person’s unexplainable actions are caused by a difficult or painful past that no one else would understand. There is a touch of misery, desperation, and longing for a companion in Emily’s life and the only man she ever came close to had to experience the aftermath of her painful and sad past.