“A Rose for Emily” was first published in 1931 by an American writer; William Faulkner.it is a fictional work that is based on a city called Jefferson in Mississippi in Yoknapatawpha County. The story is about Emily, the daughter of Mr. Grierson, a once prosperous Jefferson businessman.
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Due to his enormous wealth, Mr. Grierson was owed by the council responsible for tax collection a colossal amount of money, a fact that prompted Colonel Sartoris to exempt the bereaved Emily from her tax responsibility. The most interesting thing about the town and Emily in particular is the fact that her house, which once stood in an elegant upscale neighborhood, is the last sign showcasing one’s splendor.
The story takes a twist when a new town leader succeeds Colonel Sartoris as the leader and sends board members of the Aldermen to request her to resume her obligation of tax remittance. However, Emily refutes this request and asserts that she is not obliged to pay taxes in Jefferson. She tells off the official, and requests them to consult colonel Sartoris about the matter (Robinette and Faulkner 1-17).
A rose for Emily is one of the books that is rich in styles that are employed to bring a clear picture of the theme story. One of the styles employed by the writer is flashback. The writer takes us back through a flashback to better our understanding on the foundation of the paper.
This method as a style allows the writer to give information, details or explanations in regard to the present situation or scene. For instance, the writer introduces us to Emily as a young girl and how his father had rejected various suitors terming them as not being suitable for his daughter.
After this, a battle ensues between Emily and the town citizens when a foul smell is detected from her father’s house and it culminates with the judge ordering that the residence be sprinkled with lime at night to kill the awful smell. After a week, the smell dies of and the town people get wind that Emily’s father had died. The women of the town decided to console Emily having in mind that her aunt had gone mad.
However, Emily meets them at the door and denies that her father had died. She puts up this shirred for three days, but eventually decides to hand over the body for burial. As a character in the book, Emily seems to take dramatic twists. After her father’s death that summer, she becomes very sick which coincides with the town awarding a contract to a company under the stewardess of Homer to construct sidewalks. This gets complicated when Emily and Hormer start an affair and are sported doing buggy rides together.
The story culminates in a gruesome and horrific manner. Emily goes to a drug store to purchase arsenic, but under the town’s regulations, she is supposed to disclose what she intended to do with the poison. She claims that it is for a rat infestation, but the town people don’t believe her and think that she intended to commit suicide or better still, kill Homer.
One night, Homer goes to Emily’s place and is never heard of again. Emily cuts off herself from the town and lives a life of seclusion. She closes the top floor of her house and grows grey. Eventually Emily dies at the age of seventy-four and her body is laid on the parlor as the men, women and the elders of the town pay her their last respect.
After a lapse of time, the door that sealed the upstairs is broken to the shock of the town. The room is frozen to show how time had lapsed; items showcasing an upcoming wedding are on display. To the shock of most of those present, there was a body that was at an advanced stage of decomposition. It later turned out that the body belonged to Homer Barron. To the people’s amusement there was an indentation of a head next to Homer’s body and a long grey strand of Emily hair lying lifeless.
Although “A Rose for Emily” is termed as William Faulkner’s best book, there are major criticisms for the book. For instance, the structure of the story begins on a dramatic precept where first, we have the announcement of Emily’s death. The writer then gives as the story of Emily through the third omniscient where we have “we” to represent the town people and we are taken back through a flashback.
Interestingly in the story, Emily falls in love with Homer who is a southerner just like the writer and Emily herself being a Northerner, was a ready recipe for chaos. This brings as critics to look into the aspect of perception in terms of how people view each other in relation to where they come from and their birth place.
In addition to this, the writer introduces us to another conflicting aspect. This is the issue of status quo, where according to Emily’s father; her daughter was to be married to a certain class of people. This was the reason he turned away the various suitors who sought Emily’s hand in marriage.
According to some critics, this was the resultant cause of Emily’s poisoning Homer and slipping with his dead body. This is precipitated by the fact that before Homer’s disappearance, Emily’s cousins had paid her a visit and most likely, he was against the planed wedding (Getty, 230)
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Lastly, the writer introduces us to insecurity as a theme. This aspect also adds to the debate as being the cause for Emily killing Homer. From the story, we know that Emily’s previous fiancée had run away and abandoned her. This act caused her to be insecure, which made her to think that Homer would do the same and also leave her.
She results to killing him as being the surest means of holding on to him (Petry 52-53). The most striking aspect of the story is that although it is a work of fiction and having in mind the concept of suspending disbelief, it is rather absurd that nobody finds Emily’s behavior quire in that Homer disappears without anyone noticing right after Emily had bought poison from a drug store.
It is also incredible that the people of the town, especially the women, who had never glanced the inside of Emily’s house did not have the slightest curiosity to check the house right after Emily’s death, but the town took a long spell of time after her death to break down the door to the upper stairs. According to some critics, this is a method of “filling in the gaps” on the part of the writer to come up with a logical storyline.
Getty, Laura. Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily. Explicator 63(4).Pp. 230-234. 2005. Print.
Petry, Alice. Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily. Explicator. 44(3). Pp. 52-53. 1986. Print.
Robinette, Joseph and William Faulkner. A Rose for Emily. New York: Dramatic Publishing, 1983. Print.