A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, Essay Example
A Rose for Emily is a tale of an old woman, Emily who lives in Jefferson town. This is a sad story that starts with a funeral of the main character. At first sight, it appears confusing, but the whole story clearly summarized into five episodes for easy understanding. There is the episode of the taxes where the town has exceptional relationship with Emily, upon its decision to stop taxing her in 1894. The second episode is the death of Emily’s father. Third episode is the Courtship of Homer Barron and Emily, who later disappears upon being last seen entering Emily’s house. The next episode occur a short time after Homer disappears, where a strange smell comes from Emily’s house. The last incidence is the death of Emily, her funeral arrangement and the discovery of the secrets.
The main theme in the story is the theme of decay. The town Jefferson, once seen as a charming southern town also decays off slowly becoming old and losing its aesthetic value. There is the setting at the old house, which was once the best house around the place. It losses the beauty it once had. Nobody except Emily and her black servant has been to her house in ten years. Upon revealing Emily’s secrets after her death and burial, the town people have the freedom to survey the house. The servant lets them in and then flees forever. They go upstairs and break into a room that closed for forty years. This is where they encounter the wonders. They find the Homer Barron’s corpse rotting in the bed. Again, on the dust of the pillow lying next to Homer, they find an indentation of a head. This proved Emily’s because of the long gray hair also found.
Emily herself represents a decayed person; or rather, her mind decayed after she murders his lover. This is after discovering that she had grown old, her beauty decayed off, and they could not get married. She plays the game safely. She buys the arsenic at the drugstore. The town people thought that she planned to kill herself after Homer gives her “The Shaft.” Once again, she buys several men’s items. The best the town people could think is that Emily and Homer were getting married. It is in this confusion that she murders Homes, her lover. She then embraces the dead and sleeps with a corpse until her death. This is a clear indication of decay in Miss Emily.
There is the use of symbolism in the story where ‘A Rose’ has a symbolic meaning in the story. At first, the reader would think of love, admiration, affection, and all the best things expected in a love life. Faulkner then explains it in a straightforward manner stating that the flower simply represented Emily’s lover who wanted to abandon her for being old. Homer was the only treasure Emily had, and to earn herself a “rose”, she decided to kill him. This was because her father had kept her locked up and she never got married. Thus the title for the story given as, “A rose for Emily.” The house is one of the symbols skillfully used by the author. It marks the place where the story set, and most of the happenings took place there. Faulkner describes the old house as once white and beautiful. It then turns to be extremely ugly; full of old cracked furniture, dust, shadows, smelled of dust and disuse, and just before the fireplace stands a portrait of Miss Emily’s father. The house illustrates a gothic setting, with its description and its surroundings representing the rotten past as well as the rotten present.
To conclude, this story is one likely remember five years from now. Emily is just but a representative of those women out there who have no say in their lives. Their parents, (in this case, Emily’s father) control every bit of their lives. Emily was one of the most beautiful women in Jefferson. Out of the so many suitors who would wish to marry her, her father never allowed any man to marry her. She sees her beauty decay off slowly. Upon seeing that she could no longer marry Homer Barron, her lover, she opts to murder him and place his body upon her sight. This is just a sad story, which ought to educate parents out there to give some freedom to their children especially when it comes to marriage.
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