A Rose for Emily a Literature Analysis

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A Rose for Emily a Literature Analysis

This essay will offer a literary analysis of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” It will discuss the narrative structure, themes of decay and resistance to change, and the symbolism in the story. The piece will analyze the character of Emily Grierson and the societal and psychological factors that shape her life and actions. Additionally, PapersOwl presents more free essays samples linked to A Rose For Emily.

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“A Rose for Emily” is a short story written by American author William Faulkner and published in 1931. This literature work may be Faulkner’s most well-known short story. This story is written in a Southern Gothic style, divided into five sections. It is set in a post-Civil War era. Faulkner’s story is not told in chronological order. It starts with her death, going back through flashbacks about events of Miss Emily Grierson, the main character’s life that shaped who she was and what drove her to commit her actions.

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In the story, the recurrent use of we instead of I represents the shared opinion of the townspeople and tells the readers that this story is being told in first-person view. “A Rose for Emily” touches on a darker theme: Miss Emily Grierson has a possible psychological disorder and does not have the ability to let go of the past and adjust to the new changes taking place in her town. This paper will be a literary analysis of “A Rose For Emily.”

The setting for “A Rose for Emily” takes place in the South after the Civil War, located in a fictional town named Jefferson, highlighted in “A Rose for Emily” literary analysis. During this time, the South was going through Reconstruction, a period when the southern states had abolished slavery and had to pay their war debts but were free to reconstruct and oversee their own communities. During the post-Civil War era, the southern states passed something called The Black Codes. Black Codes were passed by southern states in 1865 and 1866 after the American Civil War in an attempt to legally restrict the rights of freedom of African Americans to be able to control them, primarily for physical labor. In “A Rose for Emily,” Mayor Colonel Sartoris is able to decree that “No Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron” (Faulkner, p. 82).

The purpose of this literary analysis essay of “A Rose For Emily” was to show the difficulties of letting go. At the beginning of the story, the narrator, possibly a neighbor of Miss Emily, gives the reader a glimpse of Miss Emily Grierson’s character through the view of the other townsfolk. At the beginning of the story, the narrator, who seems to be a neighbor or someone who resides in the same town as Miss Emily, the town of Jefferson, subjectively gives the reader a glimpse about whom Miss Emily Grierson is as a character through the outside townspeople’s perspective; how the town saw her and how they reacted to her and her actions. The narrator tells the audience that “…[our] whole town went to her funeral” (Faulkner, p. 82). This sentence allows the reader to assume that Miss Emily was considered some type of aristocrat — an upper-class lady. To the men of the town, she seemed like a fallen monument to be respected (Faulkner, p. 82), which symbolized tradition, a way of life, and certain old morals that Miss Emily represented. To the other women, she was a secretive and unusual woman due to her isolation.

Miss Emily was the last generation of a white, rich, and privileged family — possibly ruined by the war. Through the narrator of the story, the audience learns that her house stood in a rotting neighborhood. “Garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagon and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores” (Faulkner, p. 82). Her house may symbolize a refusal to accept change and move on. Perhaps Miss Emily was not ready for change and tried to cling to the past. She may have craved a sense of familiarity in a place she no longer recognized.

Another hint pointed to the inside of her home, which nobody except an old man-servant, gardener, and cook had seen in ten years (Faulkner, p. 82). “It smelled of dust and disuse- a close, dark smell ” (Faulkner, p. 82). According to the narrator, when the maidservant opened the blinds of a window, they could see the leather was cracked, and faint dust “rose sluggishly.” The picture of Miss Emily’s father behind her on “a tarnished gilt easel” may hint at the male-dominated society Miss Emily grew up in. It was an old-fashioned culture, and even though Emily’s father has been dead for a while, he still had some influence over her. These factors all point to Miss Emily holding onto her sense of nobility and dignity from the past — unable to let go.

Faulkner chose a unique f point of view to tell the story — the view of the townspeople. The narrator gives the readers the opportunity to let their imagination wander and create their own conclusions from the story, maintaining a sense of suspense. The reader does not know what she is thinking or what she is doing inside her house, keeping the audience in the dark. If Faulkner had written the story from Miss Emily’s point of view, the story would have lacked mystery, eliminating the suspense as they would know everything Miss Emily was doing, the reason behind her actions, and the fear in her mind — the fear of letting go of the past.

Faulkner’s main theme and conflict of the story “A Rose for Emily” is the inability to move on. From the beginning of the story, Miss Emily has trouble detaching from the past, a common theme seen by the reader. When her father died, she refused to accept his death for three days in a row, stating that her father was not dead (Faulkner, p. 84). The reader sees that same pattern with the death of Colonel Sartoris. Miss Emily still refused to accept this death, even though the colonel had been dead for ten years. Faulkner, through his story, shows how some people cope with the problem of a civilization that is deteriorating and evolving simultaneously. He explores the psychological reality of a southern community adapting to change and shows the reader the correlation between past and present. In the end, Miss Emily does not change her way of thinking. She dies a lonely woman, clinging to her old life — never changing.

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A Rose for Emily A Literature Analysis. (2019, Jan 25). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-rose-for-emily-a-literature-analysis/