In "A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner's use of language foreshadows and builds up to the climax of the story. His choice of words is descriptive, tying resoundingly into the theme through which Miss Emily Grierson threads, herself emblematic of the effects of time and the nature of the old and the new. Appropriately, the story begins with death, flashes back to the near distant past and leads on to the demise of a woman and the traditions of the past she personifies. Faulkner has carefully crafted a multi-layered masterpiece, and he uses language, characterization, and chronology to move it along, a sober commentary flowing beneath on the nature of time, change, and chance-as well as a psychological narrative on the static nature of memory.
Faulker begins his tale at the end: after learning of Miss Emily's death, we catch a glimpse of her dwelling, itself a reflection of its late owner. The house lifts "its stubborn and coquettish decay" above new traditions just as its spinster is seen to do, "an eyesore among eyesores" (Faulkner, 666). The narrative voice suggests the gossipy nature of a Southern town where everyone knows everyone else, and nosy neighbors speculate about the affairs of Miss Emily, noting her often antiquated ways and her early retirement. In fact, it appears as if the town itself is describing the events of Miss Emily's life, the first-person plural "we" a telling indication. The first explicit example of this occurrence takes place during the flashback in the second section, when, in speaking of her sweetheart, the narrator parenthetically adds "the one we believed would marry her" (667).
In the opening characterization, many de...
... middle of paper ...
...hich no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years" (672). This description would seem to explain the static nature of an unchanging Miss Emily-"the carven torso of the idol in a niche" (671)-the tableau vivant framed by the "back-flung front door" (668) through which the secret might be unlocked-and the unchanging nature of the manservant. It would seem Faulkner has woven a multifaceted tapestry with its warp and woof firmly anchored to universal-and therefore timeless-truth, while his historical particulars form the aesthetic shag bedecking its surface: the changeless world of being beneath, the straining world of becoming above.
Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Literature: The Human Experience. 8th ed. Ed. Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz. Boston: Bedford, 2002. 666-672.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- People often stick to tradition, but does that mean tradition is proper. Throughout time, many things in life change, but sometimes things stay preserved. The past is the past and cannot be altered, but things can become spoiled, whether by nature or by man. Gender representation has come a long way in the past few hundred years. To this day life is still not equal for either group. The genders have portrayed for millenniums certain duties and created imageries people associate with both, and will not go away overnight or in a century, possibly not even in a millennium.... [tags: a rose for emily, william faulkner]
860 words (2.5 pages)
- William Faulkner begins his short story, “A Rose for Emily” with the funeral of the main character, Emily Grierson (30). Emily is a quiet woman. It is said that nobody has been in her house for ten years, excluding her servant (30). Supposedly, her house used to be the best one around. The town also has a different connection with Miss Grierson. She is the only person in the town who is not forced to pay taxes. For years the town neither makes her pay, nor harasses her with tax notification letters to pay her taxes, until now.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1351 words (3.9 pages)
- In “ A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner tells the complex tale of a woman who is battered by time and unable to move through life after the loss of each significant male figure in her life. Unlike Disney Stories, there is no prince charming to rescue fallen princess, and her assumed misery becomes the subject of everyone in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi. As the townspeople gossip about her and develop various scenarios to account for her behaviors and the unknown details of her life, Emily Grierson serves as a scapegoat for the lower classes to validate their lives.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1314 words (3.8 pages)
- A Rose for Emily is set in a small southern town, in which Emily’s cottage is seen as “an eyesore among eyesores”. This metaphor also describes Emily who is seen as “a body long submerged in motionless water.” In the story, written by William Faulkner, this lady’s life is shown through the eyes of the town. Miss Emily Grierson is a peculiar character, withdrawn from society with symptoms indicating mental illness. Her influence on the community was significant, though she was a very independent character.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
605 words (1.7 pages)
- Importance of Human Interaction in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily Are human beings responsible for the well being of others that they come into contact with. William Faulkner's story "A Rose for Emily" considers the significance that human interaction has or does not have on people's lives. Faulkner creatively uses a shocking ending to cause readers to reevaluate their own interactions with others in their lives. Throughout the story, Faulkner uses characters that may relate to the readers more than they want to admit.... [tags: A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner]
1375 words (3.9 pages)
- Significant Quote: “Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care.” Plot: The plot of “A Rose for Emily” shows the later years of the main character, Emily Grierson, with flashbacks to her life interspersed between. It begins with the reader learning of her passing, developing into a story that provides insight in to her reclusive nature and past dealings with family as well as the town of Jefferson. Due to her reclusive nature and high standing in society she is often gossiped about by her fellow townsfolk.... [tags: death, miss emily, william faulkner]
753 words (2.2 pages)
- Escaping Loneliness In "A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner's use of setting and characterization foreshadows and builds up to the climax of the story. His use of metaphors prepares the reader for the bittersweet ending. A theme of respectability and the loss of, is threaded throughout the story. Appropriately, the story begins with death, flashes back to the past and hints towards the demise of a woman and the traditions of the past she personifies. Faulkner has carefully crafted a multi-layered masterpiece, and he uses setting, characterization, and theme to move it along.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1692 words (4.8 pages)
- “Argh, all these kids do these days is look at their phones all day. Back in my day we used to actually talk to one another,” says the curmudgeon old man as he thinks about how much better the old days were. Despite the convenience and amazing capabilities of modern smartphones, the man’s counterfactual thinking of the old days being superior prevents him from partaking in technological change and enjoying it. Such stubbornness and unwillingness to change and evolve with the times only hurts the person who resist, for they will inevitably die with their outdated ways while society continues to progress.... [tags: Short story, Death, William Faulkner]
1294 words (3.7 pages)
- William Faulkner’s "A Rose for Emily" is perhaps his most famous and most anthologized short story. From the moment it was first published in 1930, this story has been analyzed and criticized by both published critics and the causal reader. The well known Literary critic and author Harold Bloom suggest that the story is so captivating because of Faulkner’s use of literary techniques such as "sophisticated structure, with compelling characterization, and plot" (14). Through his creative ability to use such techniques he is able to weave an intriguing story full of symbolism, contrasts, and moral worth.... [tags: A Rose For Emily, William Faulkner]
1943 words (5.6 pages)
- Introduction Almost unknown as a poet in her lifetime, Emily Dickinson is now considered as one of the most mysterious and original American poets of 19th century for her innovation in rhythmic meters and creative use of metaphors. Her poems were rarely published in Russia because most of them had religious content (to express religious feelings was restricted in Russia for almost a century). However, some poems that I read impressed me at the first glance. Dickinson’s poems spoke powerfully to me about meaningful events in living.... [tags: Emily Dickinson Poetry]
3097 words (8.8 pages)