Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

A Reader Response Critique of A Rose for Emily"

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
“Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894…” (Faulkner). A Rose for Emily expresses different uses of criticism. Throughout the story the main character (Emily) struggles with the loss of her father and the rejection of her sweetheart. These emotional pains impact Emily’s actions negatively, and make her the center of gossip. By focusing on the different strategies of the criticism readers can infer the reasoning behind Emily’s actions. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through Action, Secrets, and Anthropology.
Readers can use Emily’s actions to analyze the William Faulkner’s story. Miss Emily struggled with a loss, her dad died and “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). I can relate to Emily’s action of not letting go of her father’s body after his death. She was upset that her father died and believed that keeping his body kept him alive. When my great grandmother died I was very upset , especially since she was involved in my life; I didn’t keep her body but I was still in shock that she was gone and believed that if I entered her home I would still see her sitting in her chair. Another emotional struggle that Miss Emily faced was when“…a short time after her sweetheart—the one we believed would marry her –had deserted her” (Faulkner). I have never had a boyfriend or a sweetheart; I also never had any one close to me desert me; so I can’t relate to Emily’s pain when her sweetheart left her. All in all, Emily’s actions can help readers analyze the story.
Readers can also analyze A Rose for Emily through the secret and hidden meanings. After the death of her father and the rejection of her sweetheart people felt bad for Miss Emily, and began to question her actions, especially when she said “I want some poison…I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind…I want arsenic” (Faulkner). Miss Emily’s desperation for poison informs readers that there is a secret meaning behind the poison; its obvious Miss Emily wanted the poison for the desire to kill. Thus, the poison was a hidden meaning for someone’s death. William Faulkner also uses secret meanings when quoted, “…and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron- gray… Up to the day of her death at seventy-four it was still that vigorous iron-gray” (Faulkner). By placing emphasis on the characters graying hair, William is hinting a secret meaning behind just hair, readers can infer that Miss Emily’s hair must have significance in the story, and in the end the hair’s significance is that it helped identify the killer of Homer Brown. The poison was a clue to the fact that Miss Emily was planning a killing, and the gray hair that was found next to Homer Brown indicates that Miss Emily was the murderer. Therefore, by using the hidden and secret meanings readers can identify the conclusion of the story.
Readers can also use anthropology to analyze A Rose for Emily. In the story characters refer to a man by his race, “They were admitted by the old Negro…the Negro led them into the parlor...When the Negro opened…” (Faulkner). The usage of the word Negro to identify a person instead of using their name expresses the use of anthropology. Also In the story, anthropology was used in the line “Only a man of Colonel Sartoris’ generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it” (Faulkner). This line shows the different statuses of opposite genders. For instance, the quote uses anthropology when it hints that while men are sneaky women are very naive. In conclusion, readers can infer the different stereotypes in the story from the uses of anthropology.
All in all, readers can analyze the story A Rose for Emily, by using different types of reader response criticism including, character action, secret meanings, and anthropology. From reading the story readers can relate to the different emotions Miss Emily felt after being left behind. Readers can also analyze the different actions of Miss Emily, and by using reader response criticism infer the meaning behind her actions. A Rose for Emily shows the significance of the different uses of criticism and how they relate to our every-day life.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback