A Rose for Emily

March 22, 2011
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In reading “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, I discovered that Emily does not like change. Change is something that every person experiences throughout their life time, whether they realize it or not. There’s always going to be sharp turns in where situations get tough, but there’s always a way to get around them. In the story, Emily was raised in a way where everything was to be remained the same. Children shouldn’t rely on their parents for everything. It’s the parents’ job to teach their kids responsibilities that will help them on in the future. Setting, character, and action were used multiple times in “A Rose for Emily.” The environment can affect an individual’s behavior in different stages. Where they were born and the people they are surrounded by will always have an influence on that person whether it’s in a good or bad way. Their actions are based off of how they are raised and who they’ve been around for the most part of their life.

The setting played a major role in the story. The narrator portrays Emily’s home in a very traditional way. She lives a pleasant life in a poor southern state, obeying her father until he passes away. “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,” (Faulkner 1). Emily’s past has affected her incapability to accept change. It’s her way of being protected from the future with no guarantees and no promises. In this story’s timeframe, Negro women were not even aloud to walk the streets without aprons. The narrator almost made the story’s tone seem gothic because of the way he described Emily’s house. “But 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 wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores,” (Faulkner 1). Emily refuses to make things easier for her like other people in her town. She likes everything to be the way it always was and she doesn’t want reality to break through her enclosed little island.
Emily’s character displayed many different characteristics. She was completely cut off from the social life behind her house doors. She came across mixed feelings of love and loneliness. She was also a very unusual outsider. “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body,” (Faulkner 3). She didn’t want to accept that fact that her father was dead. He was all that she had left and when she finally realized he had to be buried, she broke down into tears. It’s understandable that losing a loved one is a tragic moment but in reality it’s bizarre hearing about your neighbor keeping their father’s body because they can’t let go. That summer Emily also met a guy named Homer Barron, who was in charge of paving the town’s sidewalks. The town began feeling happy for her because she actually found someone and was willing to outside of her house. Although she ended up falling in love with him and later on she killed him. “Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets,” (Faulkner 5). Eventually she blocked the upstairs to her home, not wanting people finding out she was hiding a dead corpse in her bedroom. Emily is a strange character in the story but her traits and characteristics make her stand out.
Action was also a big part of this short story. Everything that Emily did was based off of how she was raised by her family. It seems almost as if she was not taught the right from wrong. After her father died she had more responsibilities and had been isolated from everyone. “‘I want some poison,’ she said. ‘Yes, Miss Emily. What kind? For rats and such? I’d recom—.’ ‘I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind.’”(Faulkner 4). Emily’s so called “rat” was Home Barron. He led her on and made it seem like he wanted to marry her but then wanted to walk out of her life. She wanted to use the arsenic poison to kill him. Not only did she use the poison to kill him, but she also kept Homer’s body, just like her fathers. “Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair,”(Faulkner 7). No one in town knew where Homer was. One day he just disappeared and never came back. What the people didn’t know was after Emily poisoned him, she kept him in her bedroom. That explains why she blocked the upstairs of her house. Not only did she keep his body there, but she also slept next to him until she died.
To sum this up, change isn’t necessarily a good thing, but when it comes to certain things in life, you need a little bit of it. After Emily’s father’s death, she began making dumb decisions such as keeping her father’s dead body as well as Homer’s. She obviously wasn’t prepared to be on her own, but keeping her close ones that way wasn’t quite the right thing. Setting, character, and action were all elements in the short story that defined Emily. She was in a closet all her life and never got the chance to come out and show her bright colors. Instead she lived a dark, black and white, dull life.
Work Cited
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.”





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Caitlyn K. said...
May 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm
i agree with what you wrote and how you explained each quote. You did not over exaggerate each of the quotes. I would read your articles because you are catchng the attention and making them want to read  more
 
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