A Rose For Emily

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“A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.” These words were spoken by William Faulkner. William was an American writer from the South. He is thought to be perhaps the great Southern novelist of all time. One of his stories was called A Rose for Emily. It was a story about a woman named Emily's life and how she grew up in a huge mansion with an overbearing father. Her father passed away and eventually she met a man who everyone thought was not good enough for her. She ultimately killed her husband and was eventually found. The main point of the story was about dealing with loss. Using reader response criticism, a reader can analyze A Rose for Emily using aspects of Moral, Secrets, and Anthropology.
The first aspect that was found in the short story was moral. It seems that the morals of the people in this time period were much different than they are now. While there is still sexism today, it seemed that people's view on woman was much worse when this story was written. You can tell the author is writing about a period in which women were viewed as inferior to men. For example, “...The men thorough a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house,” says Faulkner. (Faulkner) This shows that women were viewed as sort of nosy. It must have been second nature to those in this time period to think of women in this way. Also, the author says, “...only a woman could have believed it.”(Faulkner) Not only does this make women seem less intelligent than men, it made them seem gullible. Perhaps the author isn't trying to say anything bad about women, but that's just how everyone spoke in those days.

Next, there was a lot of use of Secrets in the reading. For example the author says, “I want some poison.” (Faulkner) This is all Emily says and she offers no explanation so this is a perfect example of Secrets. The author sort of creates a little suspense by using this technique. This aspect is very common is Faulkner's story. Another example would be when he says, “...about the smell.” (Faulkner)Nobody knows what the author exactly means when he says this because there is no explanation. All the reader knows is that there was some sort of mysterious smell coming from Emily's house about thirty years ago. This sort of creates a mood of mystery and keeps the reading wondering about what is going to happen next.
Lastly, there was a lot of Anthropology present in Faulkner's story. For example, the author says, “The negro led them into the parlor.” (Faulkner) This sentence may not have been a big deal when the story was written, but to readers today it is probably pretty shocking. It was common back then for black people to be addressed this way. It really goes to show how much literature has changed over the years and how different people used to view the world at the time this story was written. The author also says, “...probably just a snake or rat that n***** of hers killed in the yard,” (Faulkner) This is very similar to the last example but perhaps a little worse. This shows not only that they used disrespectful, degrading terms, but they used hurtful words too. Only in this time period would this kind of writing be acceptable. It really goes to show how different our customs are today even in the same country.
In conclusion, when using reader response criticism while reviewing this story, three types should be used. They are Moral, Secrets, and Anthropology. This story in general teaches a pretty important lesson about losing and letting go. It also helps to point out the major differences between literature today and back then.





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beeboo06 said...
Mar. 26, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Hi there, 

This is an awesome paper, can I use this as a reference to my research paper? If yes, please give me your full name so that i don't have to put "anonymous" in the citation. 

Thanks... Please reply as soon as possible.

 
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