- All Best Essays, Term Papers and Book Report

A Rose for Emily

Essay by   •  September 13, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,466 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,648 Views

Essay Preview: A Rose for Emily

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

A Rose for Emily

Today I would like to talk about a short story penned by Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner called 'A Rose for Emily' and share with you my interpretations and observations from this piece of literature. I believe this story is asking the reader, "Who was Emily Grierson?" I want to argue that I don't believe that Emily was necessarily innately 'damaged' as the story might have us believe but rather a victim of circumstances.

This story is told to the reader from the viewpoint of the townspeople where Emily Grierson had lived. Emily was a black woman coming from a free, black, home-owning family in the late 1800's. The story tells us that she lived with her father as there is no mention of a mother-like figure in her life. The house they lived in had been inherited from 'old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt' who the story refers to having 'gone completely crazy at last.' (Faulkner Pg. 529). So with that, the townspeople in general thought that there must be some long standing mental issue within the Grierson bloodline.

Emily's father held her in high regard and believed that none of the young men were quite good enough for his daughter. Eventually though, after her father's death, Emily found a young suitor who became her sweetheart but he soon deserted her. Emily's father is portrayed as a controlling man who kept a tight rein on her. He drove away any young men who came to call on her and I believe because of that dynamic between them Emily's connection to her father was much more a controlling one rather than one of a child's respect for her parent giving way to the experience of her love for him. This connection to her father is what initially sets the stage for the future personal tragedies that unfold in her life. Immediately after her father's death Emily was in complete denial of the event. When the local ladies came by to try and console her she behaved as if there was nothing wrong with her father and 'She told them that her father was not dead.' (Faulkner Pg. 529), going so far as to refuse to allow her father's body to be removed from the home for burial. This behavior from Emily tells us that she had experienced a mental break.

Emily's father has died at this point and shortly thereafter she has been deserted by her sweetheart. With these events behind her Emily had become withdrawn and reclusive. The townspeople have only seen her manservant Tobe coming and going from her home. Two of her cousins had come to stay with her during her mourning. The exact amount of time that had passed during what was being observed as her having been sick wasn't specified but once she allowed herself to be seen again she was described as looking 'sort of tragic and serene.' (Faulkner Pg. 530).

Presently though a construction company came to town with a large black gentleman by the name of Homer Barron whom within a short amount of time after his arrival was frequently seen on regular outings with Emily Grierson. She was seen often enough with him for the span of about a year but it was also said that during this time 'Homer himself had remarked - "he liked men", and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elk's club.' (Faulkner Pg. 531).

The townspeople were paying much attention to Emily and Homer's comings and goings and decided that because they had yet to marry that they were setting a bad example for the younger persons in town and so the local minister's wife contacted Emily's cousins once again and asked them to return a stay with Emily again.

During this timeframe Emily went to the local drugstore to purchase rat poison. She would not tell the shopkeeper why she needed it and specifically she requested arsenic. He did tell her that it was the law to divulge what she would want with arsenic yet she would not yield to his questioning and he, in the end, relented and gave her the poison. She also purchased an engraved men's toiletry set with the letters



Download as:   txt (7.8 Kb)   pdf (104.6 Kb)   docx (12 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2012, 09). A Rose for Emily. Retrieved 09, 2012, from

"A Rose for Emily" 09 2012. 2012. 09 2012 <>.

"A Rose for Emily.", 09 2012. Web. 09 2012. <>.

"A Rose for Emily." 09, 2012. Accessed 09, 2012.