1301-063 Professor Al Osborn M.A. (English) M.A. (Bicultural Studies) 10.17.11
“A Rose for Emily”
Emily Grieson was a woman with a tragic life story. Through the story of A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner makes symbolic references of Emily’s appearance. Through Emily’s life transitions and mental disintegration her appearance becomes dilapidated. Judith Fetterley, a feminist writer, also mentions the effects of the time period and what is expected of a woman on Emily’s appearance, in her interpretation of the story. In an interview with William Faulkner he also describes the pressure of the time period on Emily.
A Rose for Emily tells of ...view middle of the document...
” The town people all believed that Emily should get married. Emily was living a life pressured by the time period that believed that women were worth as much as the man or she marries. Emily was not married at all. She did many things that made the town people talk and speculate. She bought Arsenic which made the town think she might kill herself. Then, she bought a man’s outfit, which made the town believe she was going to marry Homer Barron. She did not do either.
After Homer disappeared, Emily was only seen in her window on occasion. She grew to be fat with a head of gray hair. There was a brief time span of six or seven years that Emily brought herself into the public to give lessons to young girls. After the girls were grown and stopped the lessons, Emily completely retracted to her house never to be seen again except through the windows. After Emily died, the town discovered the body of Homer Barron in the room prepared for a wedding in the abandoned house. On the pillow next to him, a strand of Emily’s gray hair.
In A Rose for Emily, there was a quote that suggest Emily would embrace the one person that molded her life thus far; “We knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which robbed her, as people will.” Judith Fetterley suggests that Faulkner’s descriptions of Emily’s appearance were symbolic of Emily becoming her father. Having been consumed by her father, Emily in turn feeds off Homer Barron, becoming, after his death, suspiciously fat. Or, to put it another way, it is as if, after her father’s death, she has reversed his act of incorporating her by incorporating and becoming him, metamorphosed from the slender figure in white to the obese figure in...