“A Rose for Emily” came out in 1930. To some readers this horror story is the most “gothic” that Faulkner ever wrote as a writer. But if horror is all he/she gets from the story then that person is missing the meaning of the story. “A Rose for Emily” is told by a nameless narrator(first person) describing the life of a pathetic women, Emily representing a figure from the past. Her life is shaped by her fathers repression, in effect taking away her opportunity to love and driving her mad in the process as she tries to cling to the present. Miss Emily is unlucky by being the daughter of a dominating father.
This father being proud of the Crierson name, undoubtly thinks that any young man no matter who he is, is unworthy of his daughter. These selfish beliefs and views are successful in getting rid of any young men that did try. This in turn confines Emily into the beliefs of the past and relying only on her father(mother long dead) for a family. Actually Miss Emily does possess some “aristocratic” traits. She has great independence and dosent go with the bureaucratic rules and regulations. This in turn gets some admiration from the people of Jefferson(the town) as it is “digging” into the future.
But then Mr. Crierson died and all she was left was the house. This event made her “human” in the eyes of the town people now. The town turned to pity after almost having to use force to bury her father, which she clinged onto with nothing else left. The metaphor the town used was “she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will”. Enter the “present” in Homer Barron,a foreman from the North(a yankee). This is symbolized by the construction and the building of the streets in Jefferson. The town people were glad that now Miss Emily had a interest at her late age of 33.
After a while though the town ladies thought it was a disgrace, them always being seen together all the time and not being married. In come to Cousins that were even more Crierson then Emily to talk to her. A week later they had left for back home. The day after that she bought rat poison , and two days later a neighbor saw Homer get let in by Tobe her servent. That was the last they saw of Homer. The Town had thought he just wasnt the marring type, but Emily buying poison was a foreshadow of things to come. Faulkner uses this to build suspense into the story.
What she is doing is watching her past get beaten back by the new generation. Her painting pupils fell away and free postal delivery was introduced. She watched the future become inescapable to her. Then in her 70s she fell ill and died in her house. After she was put to rest the town found out how complete isolation from the community can lead to madness and murder. For up stairs in the bedroom was Homer(very skinny) and evidence that she clinged onto the present in her own way. We know this by the imagery given by the long strand of iron-gray hair(color of Emily), which the town people found next to Homer in bed.
This story is clearly a statement about the effect of the past on the present and the responsibility that follows the findings of this effect. In comparison with the Sound and the Fury one aspect sticks out in mind. Miss Emily and Mrs. Compson both wanted to be seen and considered “ladies”. From a “Rose” you can conclude this by what the town thought of her at one point of the story. “It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Crierson”. While Mrs. Compson has a sick allegiance to the idea of womanhood as she has conceived it by the “Old South”, similar to Emily in my view.
Some of the most effective irony is directed at Caroline Compsons unsatisfying dependence on her concept of herself as a southern “lady”. Its humorous when Mrs. Compson reflects on the self-destruction of her son, and she does it in ironic terms. ” I do not know, what reason did Quentin have? Under gods heaven what reason did he have? It cant be simply to flout and hurt me. Whoever god is, he would not permit that. Im a lady. You might not believe that from my offspring, but I am”. It also seems ironic that in “Rose” the past corrupts on the present.
While in the “fury” it is not the present corrupting the past, but the values of the old south that destroy the present. Faulkers use of the first person by a well informed member of the community is masterful with the story of Emily. He has the teller not involve himself with the plot or fortunes of the story. But makes him a good observer and something of a responsible person. Faulkners use of foreshadowing by inciting our anticipation is well put in the story. The best example is something I mentioned before when Emily bought poison. Another was the smell from the house.
That was hard to pick up though the first time through. He used Colonel Sartoris as a symbol of the past. What I mean by this is Colonel Sartoris “gave” them tax free living in Jefferson for Emilys father borrowing money in the past. By this Emily never paid taxes and in essence lived in the past. Faulkner also used dramatic situation from the start, it unfolds with a clash of wills with Emily and her father. Faulkner ends it in a classic denoument or “untying of the knot” when they hold up the iron-gray hair giving you the feeling of.. ohhhh.