The story "A Rose for Emily” deals with many different
themes and conflicts. First of all we should make out the plot of this very
story. It starts with the death of the main heroine – Emily - and only then the
author explains to us who Emily is. So she is a young girl who was loved by her
father and brought up in a very strict way. She has never had any admirers and
after the death of her father her destiny is probably just to become a spinster
and get old alone in her big house. But one day she meets Homer Barron – a
foreman from the North. The author introduces him as a very handsome, strong
man with beautiful eyes; he has good sense of humor, people like him very much
and some girls would also like him to be their husband but he is interested in
Emily. And though he looks pretty nice, people in the town regard him as a poor
man so for Emily, a woman who belongs to a noble family, he is probably not the
best choice. But she can live with that and one day when she feels that he
wants to leave her she simply can’t imagine her life without him anymore. She
does not want other people to judge her, to gossip and think that she will live
alone for the rest of her life.
So Homer Barron disappears by accident. And we do not
get any information about this man anymore; people just continue thinking that
Emily and Homer live happily.
As for Emily, then she just gets older, her hair turns
to be steel grey, she does not talk much. She sometimes lives the house but
comes back soon. Forty years pass, Emily dies and people just get curious –
what is there in her house? How did she live? And to their horror they find a
decomposing body of Homer Barron, who was killed by Emily many years ago but
still she continued living in that house, sleeping next to the man whom she
probably loved and cared for. Obviously she did that just to protect their own
honour, to guard herself from people’s talks.
It is very interesting to analyze the title of
the story because during the whole narration there are no roses and the mood of
the story is not so positive. Faulkner explained the reason for his choice of
the title as: "It was an allegorical title; the meaning was, here was a woman
who has had a tragedy, an irrevocable tragedy and nothing could be done about
it, and I pitied her and this was a salute ... to a woman you would hand a
rose.” So it is clear that the author pities and cares for his heroine. Can we
care for her? Can we justify her deed? I doubt that.
Criminal? Or Victim? (the theme of death in the short story "A rose for Emily")
Though "A rose for
Emily” is a short story, the author raises many themes in it, like, for
example, the theme of death, the theme of the grotesqueness of existence, the
theme of a lonely character – the character that is not understood by the
society, the theme of unavoidable fate. One of the most interesting topics for
me is the theme of death. It is developing with the development of the plot.
Narration goes further – and more deaths arise.
But it is not a horror
story anyway. All the deaths described – Emily’s, her father’s, her lover’s and
even the colonel’s – are to reveal the complexity of Emily’s personality. They
just add to our perception of the character.
Her father’s death
symbolizes for Emily the end of living under strict control. So, she falls in
love with Homer. But unfortunately, their relations do not go well. That is why
she kills her lover. And that makes her personality even more complex and
therefore interesting for further analysis. Why did she decide to kill him? How
should one suffer to kill another person? What on Earth can make one commit
such a severe crime? Was it a sudden impulse or really a well-thought desire?
These questions and the like remain unanswered by the author. The reader
him/herself should find the answers. The author may only create the necessary
atmosphere, only hint, show the right direction for thoughts to develop.
Emily’s death shows the
attitude of the society to her. People do not pity her; they do not feel sorry
for her. Women come to the funeral as they have not been to Emily’s house for a
long time or even never.
Therefore, we come to
the conclusion that Emily is a lonely character, a misfortunate character, a
poor character and at the same time an unpredictable character. What has
happened to her psychic so that she behaves in such a way? Is her father to
blame? Should the society be accused of ignorance and disrespect? Should Emily
herself bear the responsibility for her actions or do we have to admit she is
also a victim? A criminal being a victim? Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But don’t
you think that a person leading a happy way of life could be able for such
doings? Buying arsenic and killing the lover? Even though her love was only
hers, it was not mutual she could have taken that arsenic herself. Why did she decide
to kill the man she love with all her heart? And how much should she have loved
him not to bury him but to sleep with the corpse? Was she a schizophrenic? Was
she mentally ill? Or was she just so very much in love that she even lost her
head? And even the same question. Why?
Love is always creative?
"When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to
her funeral…” It seems that Emily was a well-known person in Jefferson. So who
Emily was a little girl living with her cruel father. He
was a real despot. All the time Emily was suppressed by him. His total control
spread to her feelings either. Because of her father Emily’s personality was
being developed in an ugly and unnatural way. It was a great relief for Emily
when her father died. By that time Emily had already become a woman.
Time passed, and Emily met a man. His name was Homer
Barron. He came into her life by chance. In some time Emily understood that she
loved him. Unintentionally Homer broke the ice that had been paralyzing woman’s
feelings. She loved, and that was great! For the first time in her life Emily
started to live. And she gave herself up to this Love, to this Man in her Life.
One day Emily found out that Homer Barron "liked men”.
It was better for her to let him go. But she couldn’t. He was Hers! She loved him
more than anybody or anything else including her own life. But he didn’t love
her. All creativeness of Emily’s love became destructive all of a sudden.
Emily killed Homer. She killed him to stay with him
forever. She killed him to save her life. The love was unrequited, but Emily
didn’t care. Till the end of her life Emily lived with Homer’s dead body. Every
night she slept with him in a bed. Only God knows what else she could do. And all
this time she lived with only one thought in her mind: he killed her Love to
stay with it forever.
There is no doubt that Emily went through unreal,
incredible inner tortures. Her mind must have been ruptured all the time. The creative
power of love ruined her life. She was closed from the world and people outside
her house. There were only Emily and the demons in her mind. Emily didn’t live
at all. Probably she was emotionally dead after Homer’s death.
And the only thing she got for all her tortures was a
lonely rose on her grave.
A rose for Emeli.
This story is very unpredictable and
while reading it I didn’t think that it would end so. The story takes place in
one American city. And the narrator told us about one strange woman – Emily
Grierson. She couldn’t organize her private life because of her father. He was
the reason for her loneliness, he didn’t allow her to have a relationships with
somebody. That is why it is possible to say that Emily is a victim. When her
father died Emily fell in love with a visitant Homer Barron. She loved him so
much and placed great hopes for this union. But Homer Barron turned out to be a
Time passed and citizens noticed
that Homer Barron wasn’t in the city and nobody knew what happened with
him.Speaking about Emily, the narrator
mentioned that she closed her house for any visitor and her house became a
secret place for others. And only after the death of the main character, her
house opened the doors for people and in the description of it the reader can
find words: death, dust, resurrectionist. The house was deserted. Her servant –
an old negro, who was all the time near Emily, ran away . But the end of the
story is unpredictable. When people entered Emily’s house, they found a room
that was full of different wedding accessories of pink and purple colours.
There was a huge bed in that room, where was a corpse. The corpse was there
over than 40 years and I think each of the readers can imagine what has
happened with it. It was Homer Barron. Near him was a mob of gray hair.
William Faulkner didn’t want to
write a horror story, as many critics found it. He wanted to show how strong
can be love. This love can carry to the extreme, as it was in Emily’s case – to
kill the lover and to live with him many years. Emily reached at him as a mate.
She didn’t want to let him go that is why he decided to do this crime.
As for me I feel sorry for Emily,
she couldn’t experience the real love because of her father- tyrant, she
couldn’t understand that Homer was not the one man on the planet. But the most
terrifying thing is that Emily wouldn’t ever realize that nobody can keep
somebody or something by force near him/her.
A Rose for Emily. Symbolism of the
Sometimes, there’s more to throw light
on than meets the eye.
The text is sewed with symbols and
allegoric references and is largely supported with gothic inclinations of the
author. In fact, the atmosphere and the effect of the entire story are created
due to symbolism and foretokens.
The house of Miss Emily Grierson is
the major symbol of the story. Its description provides the readers both with
its appearance, history, and significance. "It
was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with
cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the
seventies, set on what had once been our most select street.” It used to be
a domain of luxury and privilege. It symbolized the existence of the higher
cast in town, its pane brought back to the times when exuberance was thought to
be a virtue. Now the house typifies the expiring aristocratic generation. Where
the prosperity and respectability were the full masters, now decay and desolation
queen over. Miss Emily Grierson and her old black servant are the sole survivors
in the shipwreck of the noblesse.
One more object that possesses some
symbolic implication is the watch. Miss Emily carries it with her all the time
and "a thin gold chain descending to her
waist and vanishing into her belt” is the only tie that makes her close to
the world of her past. In the minutes of silence or painful reminiscences, the "invisible watch ticking at the end of the
gold chain” still measures off Emily Grierson’s days. The stationery is
also a symbol of time. The mayor "received
in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in
faded ink”. Miss Emily is convinced in her affection to her bygones. She
won’t change her habit or replace the things she makes use of. She would rather
age along with her wonts.
Lime and arsenic are evidently the
story's creepiest symbols. The town dwellers "broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there” as the whole
place was stinking. The citrus smell of lime is perfectly designed to hide the fetor
of the rotting corpse of Homer Barron. Arsenic, being a scentless chemical, was
used to murder the man. Both lime and arsenic represent people’s attempts to destroy,
conceal or disguise something hateworthy, shameful, detesting.
"A Rose for Emily” resembles a
horror story full of chilling images and ominous symbols. But at the same time it
strives to reveal human nature, to turn it inside out so as to show what shadows
of the past it hides. For things of the present always symbolize their past.
yourself in a small town where everyday meal can't be served
without a portion of everyday rumours.
Imagine all the neighbours discussing each other,
all the words and actions as if they all
were curious paparazzi chasing celebrities.
Imagine that you suddenly turned out to be one of the characters of
the story "A Rose for Emily”.
it's not so difficult to imagine this situation. The very narration
is of "gossipy nature”, the story seems to be built up of
several sub-stories told by several people, each of them adding some
new facts and details. The line of narrating is far from being
linear, the whole story looks like a mosaic and every piece of this
mosaic is focused on this or that aspect, this or that event. Due to
this fact "A Rose for Emily” deals with a great number of themes
and conflicts within one leading plot-line. One can single out the
theme of loneliness and solitude, the theme of social isolation and
one's desire to avoid being talked about, the theme of death and the
theme of crime. But still all these themes and conflicts are
gathered together in order to reveal the only leitmotif of the
narration that manifests itself in Emily's tragedy.
Grierson didn't have a chance to live a happy life. Since the very
moment when her life began, Emily was pressed and limited by her
father's will. Timid and weak-willed girl, she had no ability to
escape his strict control and find her own way to follow. Her
father's death could have become a salvation for this lonely sole,
if only... One can't avoid his fate and Emily was doomed to be
alone. Leaving all the guys from her town aside, she has chosen a
gay to fall in love with. And her need for love was strong enough
not to let him go.
Rose for Emily” is not a story about solitude and
misunderstanding. It is not a story about one's death and one's life
that's even worse than death. It's not a story about one's betrayal
and one's fear of becoming an outcast.
It's not a story about protecting one's dignity and hiding form the
society. It is a story of one's desire to be loved. It's a story of
one's need to be loved. It's a story about a woman lost in her
desperation longing for love.