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Critical Analysis – A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner


Critical Analysis– A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

In “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner starts the story with the death of Miss Emily Grierson, providing the reader the first glance into the main character of the story. In this story Faulkner creates an objective, yet intricate point of view through the unknown storyteller with his usage of setting, occasions and characters to create a southern state of mind. By using an unbiased perspective an author turns the reader into a jury, so that the reader is able to translate the story, and reason when given enough information.

Faulkner presents his characters in an extracted manner but yet remains really detailed. Throughout the story the narrator utilizes various conditions to describe and introduce the main characters. Setting, character, and plot are 3 elements that make this story a literary success. Emily Grierson, the main character in the story, is presented in the third paragraph as “a tradition, a task, and a care; a sort of genetic obligation upon the town” (121 ). Homer Barron, Miss Emily’s lover, is referred to as “a big, dark, ready guy” (123 ).

Tobe is discussed throughout the story but very little is utilized to explain him aside from “a doddering Negro male” (125 ). Faulkner begins setting the southern mood in the second paragraph when the storyteller is explaining the home as “an eyesore amongst eyesores” (121 ), what had actually become of it and the street on which it was developed. He likewise describes the cemetery where Miss Emily is buried by describing the “confidential graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson” (121 ). He goes on to explain the within the house in paragraph five as “smelled of dust and disuse a close, dank odor” (121 ).

All of these terms suggest disregard, decay, and atrocity: each of these elements ties together much deeper themes upon which Faulkner builds throughout the story. The focus of my character analysis will be the title character, Emily. “When Miss Emily Grierson passed away, our whole town went to her funeral” (121 ). We are led to believe from her description that although she is from a popular household, Emily does not fit the mold of a southern belle “We had long thought of them as a tableau; Miss Emily a slim figure in white in the background” (123 ), “So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased precisely, however vindicated” (123 ).

Faulkner fulfills the southern gothic characteristic by overemphasizing the appearance of Emily throughout the story. It is when the town alderman pertains to see Emily about an overdue tax bill that a person would get a look into her appearance. “a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and disappearing into her belt, leaning on an ebony walking stick with a tarnished gold head” (122 ). The author, when making mention of her size, called her overweight. “Her skeleton was little and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been simply plumpness in another was obesity in her” (122 ).

Faulkner makes numerous points out about how huge Emily’s character is to highlight her big look. The voice of Emily was extremely cold and stern. During the visit by the town alderman to try and gather on an overdue tax bill, Emily’s voice was quote “dry and cold” (122 ). Emily rejected the alderman when they concerned visit her about the tax expense. “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Possibly one of you can access to the city records and please yourselves” (122 ). Emily was an emotionless, fat, and lonely woman.

The personalities of the characters supports the storyline by each of them being various simply as the story unfolds. The story goes on to include a non-linear plot that affects the story by making the judgments and understandings of the townsfolk authentic and reasonable. Faulkner’s discussion of the story and the plot structure amplifies the social conflict between Emily and society. The story begins with the storyteller evaluating the life of Miss Emily as the townspeople prepare to attend the funeral service at Emily’s home.

Providing this in such a method, in addition to the total non-chronological order of the plot sequence, has an effect by demonstrating how the perceptions of Miss Emily were not static, but in reality dynamic ideas that altered over the course of time. Making use of a non-linear plot maintains the interest of the reader throughout the story by keeping them puzzled on what’s going on and how to feel. In conclusion, setting, character, and plot are three aspects that make this story a literary success.

The reader feels as if they become part of the events instead of simply being told about it. Faulkner is also able to provide the narrator the voice of a townsperson. This permits the reader to get the complete sense of the judgments and perceptions of the townsfolk; it allows you to nearly embrace them as your own. Faulkner’s story, “A Rose for Emily” is significantly affected by its non-linear plot structure. It adds a component of secret that complicates the plot while likewise keeping it appealing and intriguing.

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