December 10, 2014
A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner
A Rose for Emily written by William Faulkner captures the life of a wealthy woman coping with life after the death of a loved one. Death is an indescribable feeling that can cause pain, anger, and sorrow for almost everyone. Early on in the story, Emily’s father passes away leaving her with all of these emotions concealed on the inside. After her father’s death Emily was left alone to grieve which caused her to react to his death in an unusual manner eventually leading to a state of depression. Emily barricades herself in her home away from the outside world for a long period of time ...view middle of the document...
Getty’s second theory describes the rose as a representation of Emily and the narrator’s relationship. Seeing that Faulkner did not take the time to explain who the narrator was, I am not convinced the rose represented anything involving their relationship. When I think about a rose it displays love and affection. With the death of Emily’s father and the death of Homer, I can say the rose signified the love she once felt for both her father and Homer.
Another scholar, Michael Burduck, offered his own opinion about the narrator and Emily’s relationship. According to Burduck, the importance of knowing who the narrator is can bring great insight on this story as a whole. Faulkner does not mention whether the narrator is a man or woman, friend or enemy, or just a stranger from the neighborhood. This scholar believes the narrator is a woman because of the sympathy shown while telling the story. He uses the discussion of Emily’s love life to prove this point. “Then we knew that this was to be expected too, as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent and furious to die.” (p.306) According to Burduck, women understand each other and this particular conversation amongst the townspeople showed readers that the narrator understood and felt the same pain of loneliness as Emily did. In Michael Burduck’s critical review, he speaks about another author named Hal Blythe. Blythe did an article about “A Rose for Emily” suggesting that the narrator is a male. According to Blythe, attempts to assuage the grief produced by Miss Emily's rejection of him by relating her story; telling her tale allows him to exact a measure of revenge. I do not believe knowing the narrator is important in understanding the story because regardless who it could be, Faulkner demonstrates by not revealing the narrator that all humans are capable of having empathy for another being. The narrator has seen Emily going through a difficult time in her life and the narrator tells her story in a manner that is sensitive to Emily’s feelings.
Ray B. West Jr. author of “Atmosphere and Theme in Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily’ discusses the importance of time throughout the story. Faulkner switches back and forth between the past and present in the entire story. He begins the story with the townspeople attending Emily’s funeral. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant—a combined gardener and cook—had seen in at least ten years. (p.302) Beginning with the present, West believes Faulkner was preparing his readers for every event that followed. Agreeing with West, time definitely makes this story even more interesting to read, but I believe time also played a role in understanding Emily’s mindset. After the death of her...