A Look at “A Rose for Emily”
“A Rose for Emily” is a short story by William Faulkner. It is the story of an old southern woman called Emily who lives only with her servant in an old mansion after her father dies; she never goes out and is rarely seen by the townspeople. Nobody in the town knows that she’s keeping a macabre secret inside her room. I chose this story in particular because I’m a huge fan of The Zombies and music from the sixties in general. In The Zombies’ album Odessey and Oracle, there is a short retelling of the story and that is the only version of the story I have ever heard before reading the actual story in class ...view middle of the document...
In the fourth part of the story, the townspeople start saying that Emily is going to kill herself with the poison. Homer one day enters Emily’s house and is never seen again. After this incident, Emily becomes even more reclusive. In the last part of the story, after Emily’s death, a room that has not been opened for a long time is finally broken open, and as if it were frozen in time, Homer’s corpse lay in the bed on the pillow right next to the corpse lay a strand of Emily’s iron gray hair, with the indentation of a head next to it.
The first thing I would like to touch upon is the narrator. According to Terry Heller, many people wonder if the narrative voice is distinct from or coincident with the voices from the town. When I read the story for the first time, I did not even think about this. Who is the narrator? Is he sympathetic towards Emily or not? These are questions I should have asked myself the first time I read the story, but I didn’t even think about it. The narrator to me is just a disembodied voice and from my point of view he seems to be neutral towards Emily. What the narrator is doing is telling the readers Emily’s story through the eyes of the townspeople.
Another strong theme in the story is the Old South. The following quote explains the story’s theme of the Old South refusing to change after the Civil War.
Many critics have focused on Emily's attempts to stop time by confusing past and present and refusing to accept change; similarly, the muddled chronology of events in the story has been a subject of great debate. Both issues have been interpreted as symbolic of the American South's inability to move forward along with the industrialized North after the Civil War. (Schoenberg)
I can see how part of the story can be interpreted that way, but I see her refusal to change as less symbolic and more literal. I think her refusal to change has a lot more to do with the loss of her father and her mental issues, another major theme.
Emily’s mental illness is hinted at very early in the story and we get to see to what extent it goes. “Miss Emily’s erratic and idiosyncratic behavior...