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A Rose For Emily By William Faulkner

Research Argument

As the saying goes, experience is indeed the best teacher. How a person is brought up and the things he/she undergoes while maturing can impact how one lives their life, either in a negative or positive manner. In the novel,” A Rose for Emily” written by William Faulkner this notion is well depicted as it elaborates a story of how a women is traumatized by how she was brought up by her strict and overprotective father. In the novel, William shows what society thought of Miss Emily by using their point of view. Due to her father’s demise of her father, Emily finds it hard to let go and start living a normal life, which entails social interactions.

Instead of society understanding her and assisting her overcome her nightmares, they opt to stereotype and judge her. Due to the way she was brought up and how society views her, Emily starts being protective and insecure in relation to social interactions. William Faulkner uses the theme of death to portray how the loss of someone can impact an individual. Emily Grierson finds herself alienated from society as she is enslaved in her own illusions due to death that occurs throughout her life.

The story begins with the death of Emily and goes further to offer details of how her dying life and the house. Emily is left in the house, which shields her from the outside world and prevents her from socializing. The house, which is old and traditional, symbolizes Emily, which is an unpreserved monument. For starters, the house was the only house on the block that was from the civil war, thus portraying deterioration.

The house cuts off Emily from the outside world for so long as it is a constant reminder of how Emily’s father snatched the chances of Emily ever being happy with another man. In a way, the house acts as a guard of protection and keeps Emily away from men who could marry her. Emily’s father was extremely strict and never allowed any male to come near Emily or even visit her. As Faulkner writes,”……in the eyes of her father, no man was good enough for her daughter…” the love and relationship that Emily desired were brutally snatched from her father, who struggled to maintain their family status. No matter how hard Emily tried to date, her father would not allow any of her relationships to prosper and flourish. As a result of her father’s attitude toward Emily getting into a relationship, Emily grew up being very sheltered, and it was no surprise that she was still single by the age of thirty. Due to her father’s selfish acts, Emily’s hopes of happiness were taken away.

Throughout the story, Emily is seen feeling stuck in her father’s world and finding no way out of this world. She was under a lot of pressure to live up to her father’s status while maintaining the family name. Despite all this, she still felt alone. The desire to have someone in her life results in her straying from her father’s expectations. This is clear when Miss Emily begins showing interest in Homer, and this raises a dispute of feelings among members of the community. For starters, Homer was a Yankee construction foreman, and Emily came from a family of nobleness.

People within the society could not understand why Emily, a member of a high-status family, could step so low and show interest in a day labourer. The difference in opinions among people within the society portrays the existence of a generation gap in terms of values and thinking. When it comes to values, both the old and new generation’s values differ as both believe in varying ideas. For instance, older individuals in society expect Emily to live up to her father’s status and behave in an appropriate manner. They are even ready to assist her as they regard her as noble and royalty. According to the older generation, Emily’s family had a sort of hereditary duty to the town, which dates back to 1894 when a mayor, Colonel Sartoris, remitted the town’s taxes. As a result, older people preferred performing favours for Emily due to her family’s heritage and status. However, they all wanted Miss Emily to fill in as this would help satisfy their hidden jealousies. The younger generation, on the other hand, is not compassionate to Miss Emily as they don’t take into consideration the family’s history.

The power of death is expounded more by Emily when he neglects his family house and refuses to accept the demise of the father. She neglects the house because of abandonment, and when her father dies, Emily is seen stating that her father was not dead. This is depicted well when she releases the body three days later for it to be buried. All that Emily knew was her father’s love despite it being controlling. Now that her father was dead, Emily did not know how she was going to manoeuvre through life without him. All Emily wanted was to hold on to her father a little more. When her father died, Emily’s life took a toll as she had gotten used to being with her father around. When alive, her father had turned away all suitors, and when he died, Emily felt abandoned and alone. All her life, Emily has been isolated from him. His death left Emily with no one to take care of him and with no money, and this explains why Emily opted to search for care and love she had been craving for all her life.

When the people of Jefferson came into contact with Emily after a long time, her hair had been cut short, resembling a little girl. Her new haircut signified a profound romance Emily had been looking for and found in the daytime labourer Homer Barron. The fear of losing another man she cared for, like her father, drove Emily to insanity and brought death upon Homer. According to Miss Emily, this was the only way she could be sure that Homer was going to be hers alone and no other woman was going to have her. She loves Homer too much and ends up killing him using poison. She cannot accept the fact that Homer doesn’t want to marry her and decides the only Homer will be hers is by killing him. Miss Emily had the desire to sleep with Homer, and according to her, this was actual love. After killing him, Emily keeps Homer locked away in her room as this, according to Emily, is the way to preserve their so-called “relationship”. While growing up, Emily had been controlled by her father, and this drove her to insanity and never knew what love was or how to properly love someone.

Emily had become so attached to Homer that she felt lonely and rejected by society. The society was against this relationship and wanted the affair to end. In many instances, Emily would be seen taking drives together with Homer and going to church together. As time passes by, Emily comes to learn that Homer is not attracted to the opposite sex. By the time she comes to know this, Emily is already in an instable state of mind and this information drives her crazy. Emily’s relationship gradually changed from love to obsession, and it is this obsession that makes Emily take matters into her own hands. Before knowing that Barron was not attracted to women, Emily had begun buying things that pointed toward marriage, and this resulted in the people within the society talking. The belief that she was going to have Barron forever made her buy things such as entire men’s clothing and a man’s toilet set with the letter H.B. Emily was determined to have Homer despite him not wanting her.

The death of Homer is not known until the end of the novel when the townspeople search for Emily’s house after her burial. From the search, they come across Homer’s decayed body. As Faulkner writes, this was the only way Emily was sure Homer was not going to leave her like her father, as she believed death would outlast love. All that Emily was going through was because her father had sheltered her so much and made her feel lonely when he died. In the end, Emily turned just like their father and sheltered Homer just like her father. According to Emily, Homer was her “rose”, and she was not by any chance letting it die.

In summation, death, as well as her family house, played a large role in Emily’s life as she tried to confront her internal issues. Emily had been controlled by her father her entire life, and when she died, she never knew how to deal with people around her. In the long run, death won, and Homer became a casualty. Her father had been the only caregiver, provider, and man she had known all her life. Throughout her life, Emily had clung to her father, and when he died, this destroyed her. Her father was responsible for destroying Emily’s normal life. Death has a way of impacting a person psychologically, as seen in the case of Emily and the way she acted after the death of her father.



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