Situation in “A Rose for Emily”
The era of “A Rose for Emily” is post Antebellum South where the North has emerged victorious from the Civil War. Miss Emily represents the last stronghold of Southern Aristocracy. The setting around Miss Emily reflects the decaying south with the modernization of the north. William Falkner reveals through situation that Miss Emily is static character in a dynamic world.
The first paragraph immediately creates a grim atmosphere because of the funeral. The reader feels tension between the towns people as the woman are present for gossip and curiosity versus the men who pay their respects to a “fallen monument.” Faulkner’s diction choice suggests Miss Emily was a great figure, however her impact on the town has faded. This tension between “monument” and gossip is recurring throughout the entire story. The physical ...view middle of the document...
Her father’s presence looms after his death as an oppressive force in Miss Emily’s life. She also rejects other attempts of modernization like the installation of a mailbox, and the arrival of taxes. However, after time Faulkner reveals an attempt to modernize by Miss Emily. Her relationship with Homer Baron is significant because she too was making an attempt to accept change, but the expectations around her would not allow her. Homer Barron represents a symbol of northern influence and desire, which are unfamiliar to Miss Emily. The town people gossip endlessly about her taking a man below her social class, but at this time she should have been married. Her father drove off all possible suitors, but this left her alone and longing for love. Miss Emily accepts the scandal of the relationship, but ultimately takes Homer Barron’s life when he threatens to leave her. She refuses to let go of the idea of a mans stability. His murder is ironic because Homer represented a novelty in Miss Emily’s but she rejects by taking his life further enhancing her static character.
Miss Emily’s hair in the last few words is described as a “long strand of iron- gray.” The description of iron connotes her stability and strength at her old age. Miss Emily wears a clock inside her chest that it heard but never seen. This suggests her immortality. She holds on to her father’s dead body to reject his death, and she personally takes Homer Barons life. This control of time and death elevates Miss Emily to a Godly level, but ironically her actions are the opposite. The reader may justify the murder because Emily was a victim of situation surrounding her father’s oppression and town gossip. Southern Aristocracy and the formality surrounding Miss Emily made it impossible for her to achieve the love she desired. Contrary to beliefs, her downfall was failure to adapt to her surrounds and embrace change. Her fathers ever present oppression and the gossip of the town made victimized Miss Emily causing her to act out. Thus William Falkner thus reveals mans cruelty towards man.