The story of “A Rose for Emily”, written by William Faulker, portrays the life of a woman who had gone through difficult phases of life which she had to cope up with. It revolves around Emily Grierson who was a young lady who lived all her life with her father. Her father was a proud man who believed that he was higher in status and superior to all the people in town, endowing the same beliefs to his daughter. The world of Emily revolved around her father and she was shattered when he died and she went into solitude. The town’s people felt sorry for her after the death of her father. They were curious about her way of living and they kept a close watch on Emily. She again suffered a major blow when she got close to a newcomer in the town known as Homer Borron who refused to marry her. But she found out her own way to deal with the situation and poisoned him and kept his body with her for thirty years. This was discovered in the end when she died and his body was found in her house.
The story “A Rose for Emily” presents Emily as a very stubborn lady who lives her life in her own way and finds her own ways to deal with situations. She constructs her own ways and methods to lead her life and does not care about the restrictions of society. This can be seen when Emily refuses to pay the taxes and the stubbornness she shows towards the pharmacist when she asks for arsenic without a prescription and does not abide by the rules (Downing and Susan 1991). She also poisons Homer Barron when he refuses to marry her to keep him with her. This is against the norms of the society but she has her own way of living. It is seen that Emily faces some sort of difficulty in coping up with the matters of life. Emily has been left secluded all her life and she has certain characteristics that make her take revenge. She is stubborn in her language and activities as witnessed in her actions. It is because of this stubbornness that Emily ends up killing Homer Barron.
Isolation is a theme that can be found in many of the stories of William Faulkner. Sartoris is an example of a character in Barn Burning who has been living in isolation from other children of the town. The same is the case with Emily who has been living in isolation because she was never allowed to interact with the people living in the town. Both the characters underwent a change because of the isolation that they were living in. Sartoris acts in a different manner as he betrays the loyalty promised to his family whereas Emily cannot withstand the isolation she is living in (Bedford 2010).
The story is based in the southwestern regions and revolves somewhat around the traditions. A rose for Emily is a story revolving around the past. Emily is always secluded from other people and she believes in traditions as taught to her by her father. Even after her father’s death, she does not interact much with the people of the town. She rejected all the ideologies of the modern world and lived by her own will. It is clearly seen in the story that Emily is against modern techniques when she rejects to have a mailbox outside her house. She believed in the past and the traditions lay down by her father and ancestors. Emily’s father can be blamed for the stubbornness found in Emily (Skei 1999). The discrimination brought to her by her father had a negative impact on her whole life. But the courage shown by Emily in the story can be highly acknowledged as she showed bravery to cope up with the unfairness brought to her by life. William Faulkner puts the theme of compromise in numerous of his stories with different circumstances. It is seen that many characters in the story are trying to compromise with the circumstances and some are successful while some are not. However, Emily is not able to compromise with her rejection from Homer because of which she decides to kill him. ‘a rose for Emily’ may somewhat be meant to portray how uncompromising nature creates complex situations in life. The uncompromising habits lead to greater miseries like that of Emily who lives with her dead soul throughout her life.
Faulkner’s stories have a common theme of isolation and compromise which helps one to understand the characters well. William Faulkner’s sets his stories on the lives of the southern people who were facing similar problems in previous times. ‘A Rose for Emily’ means into the reader’s attention the requirement of peace, harmony, and compromise. Aggressiveness and domination may lead to a lifelong struggle to unattained and unachievable happiness.
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The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Bedford/st Martins, 2010. Print.
Downing, David B, and Susan Bazargan. Image and Ideology in Modern/postmodern Discourse. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991. Internet resource.
Skei, Hans H. Reading Faulkners Best Short Stories. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999. Print.
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