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A Reader Response of a Rose for Emily

By , Oak Lawn, IL
“They held the funeral on the second day, with the town coming to look at Miss Emily beneath a mass of bought flowers, with the crayon face of her father musing profoundly above the bier and the ladies sibilant and macabre; and the very old men – some in their brushed Confederate uniforms – on the porch and the lawn, talking of Miss Emily as if she had been a contemporary of theirs…” In the short story A Rose for Emily, author William Faulkner helps readers create a better and more thorough understand with his language. William Faulkner grew up in Oxford, Mississippi which explains how the short story took place in a sort of southern setting. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through personal connections, visual description, and hidden meanings.

Through personal connections a reader can connect well with characters and is able to understand the story easier. "After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all." This passage from the short story, A Rose for Emily, can relate to a person. When my grandfather died I had a difficult time swallowing the truth. I had just seen him the day before his death and so it was difficult for me to believe he wasn't walking on earth anymore. After that, I wanted to be left alone for awhile because I just couldn't face everyone. Every little thing reminded me of him and instead of being happy he was in my thoughts, I was upset. There was also a time my "sweetheart" left me. It was awful. I recall not wating to eat, sleep, or socialize. That how I, as a reader, can relate to this passage. Another bit one may find relatable was the bit about Emily's father being overbearing. In a passage it explains how in a photo Emily's father is holding a whip in the foreground and Emily is standing in the background. It displays how overbearing her father is and a reader might connect if they've had any overbearing parent figures in their lives. My mother is a bit overbearing. She tends to go overboard over the smallest things and explodes over mistakes. As a reader, I can totally relate to Emily's father being overbearing.

Another reader's response is how well the hidden meanings are. "I want some poison," she said the the druggist." In this passage it is explained that Emily wants the poison to rid of Homer from her life. At this point the reader can guess that she's either planning to kill him or herself. A second hidden meaning would be when she at first denies her father's death. It took her three days to realize he wasn't alive anymore. This passage in the story sets up for the ending of the story. At the end of the story she keeps Homer's corpse and actually sleeps with it. Perhaps she had tricked herself into somewhat believing he wasn't really dead, just like she had previously convinced herself with her father's death. As a reader one can really see what goes on in the eyes of Emily through hidden meanings.

Visual descriptions are displayed throught the story that help a reader paint a mental picture. In the passage the best mental picture that the author gave the reader was "...her skeleton was small and spare; plumpness in another was obesity in her..." The passage helped create a picture of who the character is and what she looks like. Another example from the passage would be, "she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray." This displays what kind of hair Emily had and how she had let herself go after recent events in her life.

In conclusion, using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulker's A Rose for Emily through personal connections with the story, hidden meanings, and visual descriptions/ The short story is about Emily living a lonely and miserable life with an overprotective father, broken heart and other mental issues. William Faulkner creates a story with great detail, emotion and spirit. It has mood, essence and detail.





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