A Rose For Emily


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An Interpretation of William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" In the short story " A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner tells the sad story of a woman who has had an extremely sheltered life. It is a tragic story in which Miss Emily's hopes and dreams for a normal life are hopelessly lost. William Faulkner was simply writing a sad story that can be related to anyone who has had hopes and aspirations, but has conflict within themselves and with others and who is unable to fulfill any of them. Miss Emily is kept at home by her father and is almost hidden from the world. It is not said in the story, but it is assumed that Miss Emily's mother is deceased or no longer around. The reader is left with the impression that her father was uncaring, abusive, and arrogant. Apparently he kept Miss Emily hidden from fitting suitors and did not let her make a life of her own. After her fathers death, Miss Emily was emotional unstable. For three days after her father died, she refused to acknowledge his death. She wouldn't let the towns people dispose of his body. She then regressed when they finally came to take his body out (because of the horrible smell which all of the neighbors were complaining about). Miss Emily locked herself away in her self-imposed dark world. When she finally comes out in to the town again, she has cut off all of her hair trying to make herself look like a little girl. Perhaps because she was trying to regain stolen time by her father. During this time she meets Homer, a man the townspeople consider beneath her who seems to almost replace her father. She finally seems to have found happiness, but is then seen buying poison in the local drug store. She asks for arsenic and refuses to tell the druggist what it is for. The townspeople think she is going to kill herself. Later they will find out how wrong they were! The townspeople try to pressure Miss Emily to marry Homer because they call their relationship improper and disgraceful. The townspeople contact her cousins to come into town and request their intervention. They come quickly and seem to talk some sense into her. The townspeople were assured of their marriage and her cousins returned home after one week. Homer then returned three days later and was seen coming into Miss Emily's back door.

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That was the last that was seen of him. The couple did not appear for six months. Rumors spread that her new husband was a shadow of her father and would not let her out. Other than a period of about six or seven months when she was about forty, Miss Emily was only seen when she was giving china painting lessons to some of the local girls. Years later, the girls stopped coming and she locked herself away for the next thirty years. At the age of seventy-four, her lifeless body was found in one of the down stairs beds. Her dusty retreat was open for the townspeople to come in and pay their respects. After her burial, the room upstairs that had not been seen for forty years was opened to reveal what appeared to be a bridal suite. Dust covered crystal and a man's toiletries made of tarnished silver were near a groom's suit. At last the shocking discovery was made. The rotting corpse of a man in a nightshirt was all that was left in the bed. Next to the body, was the indentation of a head. Found on the pillow was a long iron gray hair, which was Miss Emily's. It is thought that Miss Emily gave Homer an ultimatum that he had to either marry her or leave. When Homer refused her request, she was disgraced and deeply hurt. She was also reminded of her fathers unloving ways. She decided to end her misery and lash out her frustrations by poisoning the object of her desire. Although her crime of passion was sinful, the reader can still sympathize with her plight. You are left feeling sorry for Miss Emily because she left this world with out every truly being loved or appreciated. She was taken advantage of not only by her father, but also by her lover and the townspeople who taunted her and used her as the center of their gossip.



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