A Rose for Emily Theme
Sexuality and the depiction of gender roles constitute a central theme in William Faulkner’s story, A Rose for Emily. Primarily, it appears as if the entire plot revolves around the theme of sexuality. Homer, one of the key characters in the novel is depicted as a being gay. At some point, the narrator mentions that Homer liked men. Furthermore, his name Homer sounds like a homosexual. The name appears alongside Allen’s assignment of phallic paraphernalia (male genitalia) to Emily.
On the face of it, the presentation of Homer as gay indicates that the cultural background of this novel tolerated unconventional or queer sexual behaviors. However, it turns out that the behaviorwas a manifestation of a new wave of thoughts about the traditional gender roles and sexual orientation.The presentation of gender roles in the book implies that the younger generation of men lacks the confidence to face women in significant issues affecting the welfare of the community. Such is the reason why everybody waits patiently to have a face-to-face conversation with Emily when they realize that she has to pay taxes. In the conventional way of doing things, the men could have castigated Emily as a way of subjecting her to embarrassment.
On the contrary, she is maileda formal letter requesting her to call whenever she thinks is more appropriate for her to do so. Apparently, the young men were intimidated by Emily’s social standing and could not attempt to do anything that might have been against her wishes.A further indication of men being rendered weak and unable to think correctly in the presence of women is during a meeting between the deputation and Emily. All of a sudden, the deputation’s spokesperson comes to a stumbling halt. More than two times, the men are held back in their efforts to convince Emily to pay taxes. As an indication of Emily’s authority in dealing with men, she vanquishes them horse and foot just like she had done with their fathers several years ago.
The use of the term ‘vanquish’ here implies that Emily is a strong woman who cannot be swayed by male authorities. More evidence of weak male characters is depicted when the lead doctors and ministers fail to assert their authority so that the body of Emily’s father can be removed from the premises in time. None of the men wanted to interfere with the body, but the women forced them to reconsider their position. This depiction shows that the men were very indecisive and that they could not be relied upon to give solutions on essential matters about their gender roles. Undeniably, the male authority in A Rose for Emily remains unable to exercise control over important issues happening in the society. It appears like women are mainly in control.
The fact that the male voice is rendered impotent in A Rose for Emily is further exhibited by the limited actions and behaviors of Judge Stevens. When the judge is approachedregarding the foul smell emanating from Emily’s compound, he refuses to speak directly with Emily. Instead, he says that he will seek an audience with Tobe regarding the issue. Such shows that the judge would rather talk with someone more subservient to him than speaking with Emily. Overall, the male authority is A Rose for Emily has been subjugated to a more subordinate position compared to the female authority.