A reader response critique of A Rose for Emily

October 31, 2011
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It is very hard to lose somebody that is close to you. In the short story, A Rose for Emily, Emily lost her father while she was still fairly young. Another concept that this story has is that many people do not like being treated unfairly or when another person has certain privileges just because of who they are. Racism also goes on in the story. African Americans still weren’t viewed as equal and still were used at cooks and servants. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through character, secrets, and anthropology.

It is easy for me to connect to Emily because of the way she denied her father’s death in the beginning of the story. “She told them her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the minister calling on her and the doctors trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body” (Faulkner). When my grandpa died, I refused to believe it or acknowledge it. I could remember my mom being hurt seeing me behave this way since my grandpa and I were so close. It was very hard for me to face the truth. It is easy for me understand why Emily would do this, especially since it was about her own father. She was also very upset when she finally confronted the truth. “Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly” (Faulkner). When I finally took it all in, I broke down too. I never thought I could cry for so long. Losing somebody whom you hold close to your heart is hard, especially when it’s somebody who has been there for you since day one.

I think the secret in this story is who the narrator truly is. They keep referring to themselves as ‘we’. A person can conclude that the narrators in this story are young kids. They no longer want Miss Emily around. “So the next day we all said, ‘She will kill herself’; and we said it would be the best thing” (Faulkner). These children seem to find her annoying and see no point of her to still be around. She also did not have to pay taxes since her father loaned the town some money. “See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson” (Faulkner). It’s reasonable to think that these kids wouldn’t want Miss Emily around since she also had special privilege and that they do not like being treated unfairly.

“They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into a still more shadow” (Faulkner). This goes to show that racism was still going on in the town during this time period. Not only were they racist toward colored men, but also towards women as well. “…no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron” (Faulkner). By these quotes, a person can tell that African Americans were not treated or viewed as regular white people. They thought that colored women were only there to work in the kitchen and do chores around the house. Men were only seen as butlers and were to do the jobs that whites would refuse to do.
In conclusion A Rose for Emily has a moral that change is a hard thing to accept. Whether it be because of losing somebody close to you, seeing someone have more benefits than you, or treating a person with higher standards. Not all people in the world know how to deal with change. Emily for example could not stand being alone. This feeling was foreign to her therefore, she denied her father’s death and murdered her boyfriend.
Works Cited
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. n.d.





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