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A Rose For Emily Essay

530 words - 3 pages

Freezing Time In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," the element of time is crucial. Critics, such as Ray B. West Jr., discuss the confusion of time in this short story. "It is the Past pitted against the Present" (West 149). When we first meet Miss Emily, somewhere within her clothing she carries in her pocket an "invisible watch, ticking at the end of a gold chain" (Faulkner 82). The comprehension of the significance of this watch is crucial for understanding Miss. Emily's need to control change with time. The analogy used, "having something in one's pocket," demonstrates keeping under one's personal control. By wearing the watch in her pocket, rather than ...view middle of the document...

"Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly" (Faulkner 82). When they came to her house to pick up Mr. Grierson's body, she demonstrates the denial of change by dressing as if it is a regular day. Another extreme example of Emily's need to control change, is by poisoning Flores 2 Homer and placing him carefully in the upstairs room. When he tells Emily that he does not want to marry her, she is afraid of being alone again. In her mind, killing him is the only way to keep a part of him in her life forever. In order to hold on to what matters to her the most, she prevents change to the best of her ability. The chain attached to Emily's watch symbolizes her attachment to what she feels that she controls. Emily's attempt to halt the movement of time is doomed to failure. The watch chain is an object of the present because it connects Emily to the watch, constantly reminding her of the passage of time. The slim, young Emily of an earlier time has not aged gracefully into an aristocratic woman, but has become unnaturally obese, bloated, and doughy, "like a body long submerged in motionless water" (Faulkner 82). Emily, who has worked so hard to stop time, has aged with time. To Emily, the passage of time halts, but of course, only in death. The comprehension of the significance of the watch is crucial for understanding Miss. Emily's need to control change with time. Faulkner places the hidden ticking watch as a symbol for Emily attempt to live in the past. Repeatedly, she attempts to control time attending to prevent the past from occuring.

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