In his tale, “A rose for Emily”, William Faulkner maximizes on the final paragraph to reveal to the audience the theme of his story. As a gothic horror story, the author relies on Emily as the main character to ascertain that mysteries are evident on earth. The author does not prepare the reader for the tragic or horrific end of the story. However, at the end of the story he confirms the mysteries about Emily’s life in terms of her character. The following text expounds the significance of the last paragraph to the reader.
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The horrific end of the story captivates the audience and subsequently makes the story interesting. Although he uses the aspect of foreshadowing to relate to the tragic end of the story, the final paragraph comes as a shock to the reader. The anxiety together with strange behavior of Emily motivated the people of the town to search her house.
Other people only get access to the house after Emily’s death. Using the first narration, Faulkner confirms the mystery about Emily’s behavior when he writes “then we noticed in the second pillow was the indentation of a head” (5), which means Emily was sleeping beside a corpse.
The disbelief that Emily had an intimate relationship with a dead person for about forty years propels the reader to want to know more. Through the last paragraph, the reader clearly understands the mystery behind the house and the life of Emily. Consequently, after reading the last paragraph, the reader will understand that the mind is so secretive, and sometimes nobody can account for his or her behavior.
Initially, Emily is a vibrant young woman with a bright future. She conducts painting lessons to children while in her house. Unfortunately, the death of her father takes away her happiness. In the last paragraph, the reader understands the secretive life of Emily. Besides killing Homer, she also preserves the body for about forty years. Therefore, her weird behavior categorizes her as a person suffering from psychological imbalance.
How could she live with a decayed body for forty years? Apart from the foul smell a rotting body exudes, most people fear corpses. From the last paragraph, the audience will first understand Emily as a mad person mainly because she has guts to sleep with a dead person for over three decades.
Only an insane person will live, sleep and have a sexual relationship with a dead body. Secondly, Emily is a murderer and an evil person because she did not only kill Homer but also did not accord him a befitting burial. Emily was against Homer’s decision to leave the house and the only decision to stop him was by poisoning him using arsenic. Could she think of a better way to restrain him?
Furthermore, the ability to conceal her actions for over four decades makes the reader understand her as an exceptionally secretive person. As a lonely old woman, she could not confide in anybody. She talked to people like the Sheriffs without making them suspect about her darkness part of life.
Furthermore, she invited children in her house but did not give them a clue of what had happened. In addition, even the parents of the children did not suspect her as a murderer. She lived a double life. It is only after her death that the truth about the whereabouts of Homer comes to life.
For instance, the author writes, “They waited until Miss Emily was decently in the ground before they opened” (Faulkner 11). The town people accessed the room, which no outsider had entered for about forty years; therefore, only death revealed her secrets.
Faulkner surprisingly reveals about the horrific character of Emily at the end of the story; why not in the beginning? Before the last paragraph, the reader gets a chance to know about the youthful life of Miss Emily, her background and her relatives. He also gives a detailed description of the town, Old South.
Therefore, if the reader learns about Emily’s evilness at the beginning of the tale, then the story would automatically be tragic. None of the parents in the neighborhood would have given her children to Emily to teach them on painting. Thus, the surprising ending is not only to attract the reader but also enables him to uncover about historical facts about America especially during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
In summary, the last paragraph in the tale a rose for Emily has tremendous significance to the reader. Faulkner gives a tragic end to his protagonist to proof the theme of gothic in his story. Besides the ending being tragic, the reader uncovers the mysteries of the story and understands the protagonist of the story, Emily.
By reading the last paragraph, the audience understands the role and character of Emily. In the last paragraph Emily’s secrecy, conservatism and deviant from normal behavior becomes clear. Finally, by placing the paragraph at the end of the story, the author enables the audience to familiarize with the setting of his story.
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Faulkner, William. “A Rose for family.” Forum, April 30 1931. Print