A Reader Response Critique of A Rose for Emily

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“None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such” (Faulkner). The author, William Faulkner, was born and raised in the south. William was interested and had great talent for writing when he was younger. When William tried to join the Air Force he was turned down because of his height, so he tried pretending to be a totally different person to try to get in. His life had to play a part on what he wrote since his story A Rose for Emily was about a girl who grew up with an over protective father. She fell in love with a man under her that her father didn’t accept. When her father died she lost hope, killed her loved one, and let her stuff go. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through character, action, and anthropology.


To begin with Emily was the main character that was very interesting and sometimes hard to figure out. Emily has been through a lot in her life. She had a lot to live up to for her father since he was more upper class. All the things going on in her life had a great affect on her appearance. “ ..a small, fat women in black, with a think old chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on a ebony cane with a tarnished gold head”(Faulkner). Emily let herself go when her father passed away and that is why she gained weight and became a cold person. I have seen this happen to one of my family members when their husband passed away. She didn’t care to go out with friends anymore. Also she didn’t care to take care of herself or her children just like Emily did in the story by gaining weight and not leaving her house. Emily’s father was also very over protective with her. “…her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground...” (Faulkner) This reminds me of my dad and how he can sometimes be over protective when it comes to me being able to do things. For example he didn’t want me out late after homecoming. He thought that I would do things I should or I would get kidnapped.

Also Emily did many different things in her life that other people saw her as weird or crazy. Emily did not know how to handle herself when her father died. “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days...” (Faulkner).Emily could not accept that her father has passed away. She didn’t want anyone to take her father’s body when she knew he was dead. Emily just could not admit it to herself that he was gone since they were so close. This reminds me of my neighbor whose dog passed away and she would always sit in her back yard like how she used to when she would watch her dog in the yard. Emily also ended up killing her loved one that she wanted to marry. “The man himself lay in the bed” (Faulkner). When Emily passed away they discovered that she had killed her loved one with the rat poison. She didn’t want him to leave her like her father wanted. Emily’s father reminds me of my dad when my dad says that I am too good for my boyfriend. I am just like Emily and not believing my father and still do it anyways. The only difference is that I am not as crazy as Emily was and kill my boyfriend then sleep next to his dead body.


Next, there was a lot of anthropology in this story. The author called her servant “Negro” they never gave him a name like anyone else. They gave him his name by his race. “They were admitted by the negro into a dim hallway from which a stairway mounted in to still more shadow” (Faulkner). This is an example of how they referred to him as. My dad sometimes dose this in a way when he calls me daughter instead of Erica. There was also anthropology when they talked about the women in the story. “Only a woman of Colonel Sartoris’ generation and thought could have invented it and only a woman could believe it” (Faulkner). That just shows they are trying to say women believe anything they hear. When people say that it reminds me of how guys think their better at doing certain things than girls are. For example my friend’s brother thinks that when we all work out together that we can’t keep up with him.

To sum it all up, this short story written by William Faulkner had character, action, and some anthropology. People can learn that some people do different things to deal with the problems they are having in their life. Some people deal with situations differently than others do and how they act toward certain things. People can take away from this story that some people just act crazy about the bad situations that come their way.










Work Cited

Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. New York: Random House, 1950.

Padgett, John. William Faulkner. 11 November 2008. The University of Mississippi English Department. 18 October 2011. <http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/faulkner_william/>





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