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A Rose For Emily

“We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner). William Faulkner is the author of “A Rose for Emily”. He was born in 1897 and died 1962. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi and was a Nobel Prize-winning novelist. William Faulkner loved writing short stories and plays. The short story “A Rose for Emily” is a story about a lady who lost her father and had a hard time letting go of his death. Miss Emily had a hard time dealing with the loss of her father, and when she found the love of her life she didn’t want him to leave her. She decided to kill him so she wouldn’t have to go through the pain of losing someone again. When the people tried to reach Miss Emily because she didn’t pay taxes there was no response. When they came they found Miss Emily dead and her fiancé dead on the bad. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through character, secrets, and anthropology.
To begin with, in the story “A Rose for Emily” there are a lot of examples of character. In the story William Faulkner describes Miss Emily’s loneliness, “After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (Faulkner). Miss Emily was very lonely and very sad when her father died. When her sweetheart went away she didn’t get out of the house. She felt lonely and she felt like everyone close to her is no longer there. Miss Emily had a hard time dealing with the pain. She didn’t go anywhere and no one seen her leave the house. She was depressed and felt like everyone who she was close to is no longer there with her. I can relate to Miss Emily because both of my grandparents died in the same year. I didn’t leave my room and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was really close to my grandparents because when my mom was sick they were the ones who took care of me. When they died I felt like I lost the closest people in my life. I was upset and angry just like Miss Emily when she lost her dad and her sweetheart. “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). Miss Emily had a hard time letting go of her father. She was acting like he was still alive and didn’t care what other people thought of her. People tried to help her and tell her that her father is dead but she didn’t want to listen. Miss Emily had a hard time letting go of her father’s body. Her father was the closest person in her life. Her father was her only family, and when other people told her that he was dead she didn’t believe them. When my grandparents died I also had a hard time letting them go. I acted like they were still alive because I didn’t believe what other people told me. I didn’t believe anyone because my grandparents were really close to me and were always there for me when I needed help. Miss Emily had a really hard time letting go of people and had a hard time believing that she was going to be lonely.

In addition, there is a lot of hidden secrets in the story. “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung door” (Faulkner). The picture shows that Miss Emily’s father was really protective. None of the guys that Miss Emily liked were ever good enough. He was over barring and not understanding. Everyone felt bad for Miss Emily because her father was strict and very controlling. I can relate to Miss Emily because my family is really protective of me. My dad and mom always call me and want to know what I’m doing. Another hidden example in the story would be Miss Emily’s gray hair. “During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and –salt iron-gray, when is ceased turning.” The gray hair foreshadows the ending of the story when Miss Emily’s gray hair was found next to her fiancés dead body. The gray hair also shows that Miss Emily’s life was very dark and gray. She was lonely and lost when her father died and when her fiancé was not there.

Furthermore, there is a lot of cultural significance in the short story by William Faulkner. “They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse-a close, dank smell. The Negro led them into the parlor.” This is an example of how African Americans were treated. They didn’t call them by their names they referred to them as Negro’s. They treated them differently and had no respect for them and their culture. I can relate to this because sometimes I’m treated differently because I’m polish. When I first came to America I didn’t speak any English and had a hard time fitting in just like some of the people in the story. Another example of cultural significance would be of Miss Emily’s fiancé when he was found dead, “What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust” (Faulkner). This shows how Miss Emily’s fiancé was treated. He was treated like garbage laying on the bad and his shirt rotten. The people didn’t think that he was good enough for Miss Emily. Miss Emily was the one who killed him because she wanted his body to always be there with her. She didn’t want to be lonely anymore. Miss Emily was sleeping next to the dead body because she didn’t know how to let go and was scared that she’s going to be alone.


The short story includes three main things character, secrets, and anthropology. People can learn that sometimes the best thing to do is to let go. There is always someone that will love you and be there for you no matter what. People come and go all the time and there is nothing we can do. We just have to learn how to deal with the pain. Miss Emily didn’t know how to deal with her pain and didn’t know how to let go. She killed her fiancé so she wouldn’t be lonely. Sometimes you have to let go of the pain because there is no other option.





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