A Reader Response Critque of A Rose for Emily

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“A Rose for Emily” is a story about a girl that suffers from a fear of change. Emily’s father passes and her lover is soon to leave her too. In the story she is so scared of being alone she actually pushes everyone away. This connects to others because the situations are real and happens to people every day. Using reader response criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” through character, secrets, and anthropology.

Connecting to Emily I know how it feels to lose somebody that was cared about. People go through a sense of denial, and it doesn’t seem or feel real. It continues for a couple of days until it hits you hard. As in “A Rose for Emily,” she was in denial for three days keeping her father’s body (Faulkner). Ministers and doctors called trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body and just as they were about to resort to law and force she broke down, and buried her father quickly (Faulkner). Also, knowing her lover wanted to leave her made things much harder on Miss Emily. She did want to accept what was happening. Emily just pretended it wasn’t real. Facing the truth and the fact someone you love is gone is like getting hit by a ton of bricks. When that happens the person will cry and breakdown. After that moment of weakness things strangely go back to normal or at least pretend too. In general, people will always go through the phase of denial when they face loss. Facing the facts is the hardest part. But denial is the one thing that will ruin a person and eat them alive.

“A Rose for Emily” also holds a hidden message about change. Emily tries so hard to hold on to the past, which is destroying her. The harder she tries to hold on the more she digs herself into a hole of denial. When Emily’s father dies she struggles and distances herself from those who care. Emily does have a man in her love, but he is soon to leave her too. After her father’s death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all (Faulkner).To prevent things from changing Emily kills him. She is so scared of change and being lonely and in the result she turns to murder to stop it from happening. Ultimately it makes her lonely and crazy, which others start to see. Emily keeps his body and acts like nothing has happened. When Miss Emily dies they find her body and his in an upstairs room in a bed. They notice a second indentation of a head and one of lift something from the pillow. It was a long gray hair (Faulkner).
“In A Rose for Emily,” if the story was involving a guy as the main character it would change the story completely. Faulkner’s story is stating that is how society perceives these two genders. Whereas a male can roll with the change and roughness of life; girls on the other hand cry about it and let it ruin their world. Emily was in denial and broke down. Homer Barron went out and drank with the younger men in the Elks Club (Faulkner). If the main character were a guy, he would put on a hard exterior and show that he is fine and do just what Homer does. A man would react differently and not show any emotion because that is what he is “programmed” to do. Guys react certain ways due to how they were raised. Whereas girls are raised to be caring, sweet, compassionate, boys were raised to be strong, independent men. In result, parents treat them differently too. Emily’s father is one example of gender being treated differently. Emily’s father kept her inside and didn’t let her go out (Faulkner). This took a toll on the social aspect of her life, which played a role in why she was co-dependent later in life. This story shows how any situation like this can happen to a different race, gender or religion. Being a girl or guy our brains process things in their own way and that affects our reactions.
In conclusion, Emily doesn’t want to be alone, but in result she ends more lonely then she was before. The harder she tries to hold on and not accept change, the more she pushes everyone away from her. Emily was self- destructing and found no point in living. Her father didn’t help by keeping her locked away, which made her suffer from a lack of social skills and life experiences. She became co-dependent and didn’t know how to live on her own. Readers can connect with this feeling, but there are also hidden secrets in the text and a social commentary on society. The way a child is raised influences their actions or decisions later in life. Emily’s childhood really took a toll on her “grown-up” life.





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