A Reader Response of A Rose for Emily

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It’s hard to tell if someone is just grieving or if they are just absolutely crazy. In the story a woman named Emily has just died. They go back on her life to a time where her father died. Then, a few months later the love of her life disappears. Emily has become anti-social. Her butler is the only person who ever sees her. When she dies everyone wants to see the inside of her house because no one has seen it in the longest time. When people finally go in there they realize something so horrifying its almost impossible to believe it. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through character, action, and moral.

Miss Emily’s character was very strong. She acted like a very strong person. In the short story her father died. She acted like it didn’t even happen. “Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face”(4). She tried to go on like nothing is wrong. Sometimes I think it helps to act like nothing is wrong. Sometimes you can even trick yourself into believing that nothing can bring you down. However, that isn’t being strong. Being strong is about knowing how to handle bad situations or scenarios in a healthy way. Although she had no other way to handle it. Her father did not let her experience a lot of things. If my father did that to me I would become depressed. If he died, than I would just feel alone and hopeless. “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.”(4) She had nothing left after that. She couldn’t accept her father’s death. Her father was the only person she had left. Now that he was gone she refused to accept it because she had lost everything she had if she did accept it.

Miss Emily didn’t accept her father’s death. She told people her father wasn’t dead. And in her head she believed that was true. “She told them her father was not dead.”(4) She told doctors and ministers that her father wasn’t dead. She didn’t want them to take her father’s body. She was acting like a hoarder. Emily didn’t want anything to be taken away from her. “Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly” (4). No one believed she was crazy because they thought that she was acting like a normal person. She was just putting off the hurt and the grief for so long because her father was the only person she had. If I were in that position I would have acted the same way. I wouldn’t have accepted it. It would have killed me. I would have become numb, but what Emily was going through was much more than just grief.

The moral of this story is that everyone needs to accept change. Miss Emily refused to accept change. One example from the story is, “She told them her father was not dead” (4). She didn’t accept it because she doesn’t like change. She broke down because something changed in her life. It’s like she was hoarding everything in her life. A hoarder doesn’t like to throw anything away. They freak out and it’s like they feel pain every time they do. She was crazy. She didn’t know how to accept things. Another example is with her sweetheart Homer Barron. He was going to leave her. Well she poisoned him and killed him so he could never leave her. She took his body and laid it on the bed. It was proven in the story. “One of us lifted something from [the pillow], and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair” (8). She killed the man she loved so he could never leave her. She refused to accept change and she killed someone because of it.

This story showed me that some people can’t accept change and that it can drive someone crazy. Change is not always a bad thing. Change is important to me because when things are bad I know that it will get better. When you have hit rock bottom there is nowhere to go but up. Emily did not comprehend that change is good. She drove herself crazy and killed a man that she loved. All because she was scared. The only thing that will not change is change.





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