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“A Rose for Emily”
William Faulkner, in the story of "A Rose for Emily," mimics a Southern style of associative storytelling. The first person is an unnamed entity, and the storyteller tells the story for the whole town of Jefferson and in the process linking what all the inhabitants of the Jefferson town believe or know. This story of "A Rose for Emily," is not like the other usual stories of Faulkner. In Faulkner's other novels and writings he usually employs several different storytellers, whereas, in this unique story, he accomplishes the influence of many speakers by merging them into a solitary speaker or voice that is an unnamed and most of the times, not a regular speaker. The plural pronouns used for the first person lay emphasis on that this storyteller symbolizes the mindfulness of the Jefferson town. The style of this story is quite similar to those used in most of the Greek tragedy stories in which repetition and repetition leader deliver the reader and the audience with data or information, interpreting the characters' movements or deeds, and expresses the community of the Jefferson town outlooks; as a consequence, the storyteller in this story, who has been identified neither as woman or a man, nor his or her age is identified in the whole scenario till the end, can be nominated as a choric entity. (Faulkner, William and Noel, 2000).
There is no sequential or chronological order in the narration of the "A Rose for Emily." Going through the story, the reader learns about the character of Miss Emily and the history in almost the same way a stranger or any new person to Jefferson town would come to know about her. At the beginning of the story, the reader comes to understand that Miss Emily has just passed away, and the inhabitants of the town are having discussions about Miss Emily's eccentric, depressed and gloomy life. The writer composes many incidents about Miss Emily's life and what happened to her, but all these incidents are not in a definite or chronological order; instead, they are related thematically. By mimicking the southern storytelling style, the writer tries to build up suspense by unfolding about people and the different events that occurred through situation-triggered reminiscences; therefore, the plot of the story is not chronological at all but is associative.
The regular readers of Faulkner’s stories and those who follow him are familiar with the way he writes and depicts the situation and incidents. Like in this story, the principal theme, the damaging outcomes of time, most particularly alter and deteriorate. The story describes that Miss Emily is always opposed to change or in other words, she does not accept change and sees change as her enemy. She does not admit any change and refuses even to acknowledge the change, whether it be the deterioration of her house, the arrival of tax bills, the beginning of residential mail delivery or even the death of her father. Besides, Miss Emily's approach toward the demise of the death of Colonel Sartoris and her father indicates her outlook toward the passing away of Homer Barron. Miss Emily is concomitant with the passage of time, and her ticking timepiece is heard but never seen and hidden in her bosom. This suggests that one might contemplate that she is living outside the usual or standard confinements of time or, conceivably, she does not exist at all. As a result, the whole scenario depicts that she might be shown as the combination of death and life in her own being.
The story of "A Rose for Emily" by Faulkner like his other writings is very much symbolic. Miss Emily is defined as a tumbled memorial to the chivalric South American. Fortifying the subjects of modification and deterioration, the house of Miss Emily which was once a stylish and an elegant mansion, has to turn into a crumbling blemish in the middle of the vicinity that has changed from suburban to industrialized. Another noticeable emblem is the crayon portrayal of Miss Emily's father, connected with the tyrannical grip of the past on the present-day. Though less stylish and graceful than oil portrait, the crayon sketch is dear to Miss Emily. The portrait is seen by the infrequent guest who arrived at her house (Howe, Irving, 1952).
The pseudo-chivalry of the inhabitants of the town comes out in more than a few symbolic actions, for instance, when the daughters were sent by their parents to Miss Emily for china-painting classes, when town leaders spread lime around Miss Emily’s lawn to deal with the filthy scent coming out of her house, and also, when Colonel Sartoris orders that Miss Emily will not be paying any residential taxes. On the other hand, Homer’s carriage deliberated flashy by the inhabitants of the town represents the dissimilarity amongst the old fashioned attitudes of the town that quite resembles with the Old South, and Homer’s more contemporary one resembles the evolving New South.
There is also an insignificant theme or subject in the story that depicts the early 20th century American South societal structure or assembly and how it is being battered by the industrialized and industrialized New South. To circumvent humiliating Miss Emily, Colonel Sartoris formulates an elaborate justification of the town of Jefferson pre-Civil War liability to the Griersons. Grierson was the same man who had authored a declaration that any African American female who will show up on the streets of Jefferson town without an apron may possibly be beaten. Similarly, to circumvent giving the impression to provide Miss Emily charity, the young daughters of the families of Jefferson town were sent to Miss Emily's house for china-painting training or schooling (Faulkner et al., 1958). However, the most noteworthy change was in the attitude of Jefferson toward the affiliation amid the descendant of Southern gentility, Miss Emily and a waged man northerner man, Homer. In the beginning, the inhabitants of the town were dismayed and feared by their connection, but progressively they started to accept Homer as a worthy choice for Miss Emily, maybe because of the inevitability.
In this factious, horror and dark story, imaginably the most vibrant secret language codes or symbols are the locked room in Miss Emily's house and the stretched iron-gray hair on a cushion inside. The room represents the confidentiality, privacy, and anonymity linked with Miss Emily's house and the affiliation with Homer. The position of the hair and its length and color propose an ongoing communication concerning Miss Emily and the dead body of Homer, which is once again showing Miss Emily's denial to admit the decisiveness of passing away.
Faulkner, in this story, never defines or pronounces the real association between Miss Emily and Homer; as a consequence, the decision has to be made by the readers that whether this story of “A Rose for Emily” is a gothic psychosomatic fiction or a sad, gloomy story of one-sided love.
Faulkner, William, and Noel Polk. A rose for Emily. Harcourt College Publishers, 2000.
Faulkner, William, John Carradine, and Anjelica Huston. A rose for Emily. Paderborn, De: Verlag F. Schöningh, 1958.
Howe, Irving. William Faulkner: a critical study. Vol. 213. Random House, 1952.
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