The events of the book A Rose for Emily by author William Faulkner unfold in the American South. Faulkner managed to convey in a few paragraphs the desperate situation in which Emily found herself. Left without a dominant father figure, she finds herself in complete mental isolation. The surrounding people are curious but not kind. However, proud Emily does not need anything from them. The exception is Colonel Sartoris, who is trying to help Emily somehow deal with financial difficulties. Although the work is relatively short, the author still managed to convey a particular mood through various literary elements.
Emily’s father dies, and she is left all alone. Only one maid lives with her in a big old house. The house is gradually falling into disrepair, as is its owner. Everything is covered with dust and mold, slowly collapsing (Faulkner 3). Emily did not get married, but not because it was her personal choice and a deliberate decision, but because her father decided so with the habits of a tyrant. He did not want to let his daughter go and scared off all potential suitors. Emily’s father forbade her to communicate with the opposite sex, and for Emily, he became the whole world (Asmarani 25). When he died, she denied his death for several days and stopped talking to others.
It is pretty apparent that the townspeople are fascinated by Miss Grierson and keep her on some pedestal. The only person who could contact Miss Grierson was a servant, but despite this, people were interested in her life and even death. So much so that they are ready to raid her house after hearing the news of her death. Romdhani claims that Emily had a superego, which was most clearly demonstrated in her dismissive attitude towards the townspeople (1515). The neighbors are so inclined to be isolated from her life that they take particular actions, for example, calling her cousins when Emily was considering marrying Homer Barron. Thus, Faulkner can not only improve the characteristics of the townspeople but also help demonstrate the impact that the situation and the period have on history.
One of the most mysterious symbols of this work is a rose, which the author does not mention in the introduction but is in the book’s title. The author compares his main character, Emily Grierson, to a rose with thorns and is waiting for time to fade. Faulkner has shown that Emilia is proud, withdrawn, and lonely. She is fragile, helpless, and disenfranchised but strong in spirit like a rose.
The pessimistic and gloomy mood is inspired by the terrible events that are happening around Emily. For example, the appearance of a strange smell next to her, which many neighbors noticed. Next, the main character of the work buys arsenic without explaining the need for this acquisition (Faulkner 16). The totality of these events gives the reader the feeling that something is happening, which Emily is silent about. Later, the reader learns about the disappearance of Emily’s sweetheart Homer Byron. The author writes: “The man himself lay in the bed”, which provokes a mood change to a tragic one (Faulkner 24). It becomes clear what the smell was and why the main character needed arsenic.
This work will undoubtedly leave a memorable aftertaste after reading. All the gloom is revealed at the beginning when the author opens his work with the main character’s death. Emily’s mystique also makes readers think about what exactly makes her what she is: proud, unshakable, and lonely. From the beginning to the end, the work keeps the reader’s attention and does not reveal all the mystery. The author leaves hints, but they can only be understood by reading the work to the end. Faulkner raises many problems at once, such as the abuse of parents with children, loneliness from the inability to live in society, and complete hopelessness.
The author completes his work by revealing the most tragic and terrible secret. He writes: “Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head.” (Faulkner 25). The townspeople came to the mysterious room and saw the corpse of Emily’s sweetheart, and by his position on the bed, a gray strand of hair next to him and a dent on the pillow, they realized that Emily had poisoned him, left the corpse at home, and spent the night next to him. This moment of the work leaves a heavy residue and reveals all the secrets and hints the author left earlier.
In conclusion, William Faulkner’s work A Rose for Emily is deep, multifaceted, and full of mysterious events and mysteries. It is tragic, but despite this, it captures the reader’s attention so much that they will want to read it to the end and unravel all the author’s plans. The main character Emily is a woman with a problematic past and a mysterious present. She is inaccessible to the townspeople, and they will know her only after her death. Everyone should read this work as it reveals many different problems and topics that they will want to reflect on after reading.
Asmarani, Ratna. “The Stunted Identity of Emily Grierson in “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner.” Culturalistics: Journal of Cultural, Literary, and Linguistic Studies, vol.1, no.1, 2017, pp. 23-30. Web.
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. Perfection Learning, 1930.
Romdhani, Mourad. “Miss Emily Grierson’s Psychopathy in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”: Overt Disorder, Covert Order.” International Journal Of Humanities And Cultural Studies, vol.3, no.2, 2016, pp.1513-1524. Web.