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ARose for Emily - CliffsNotes

Date of publication: 2017-09-05 18:50

A foul odor emanates from Miss Emily’s house. After midnight, four citizens, responding to complaints made by neighbors to Judge Stevens, the mayor, stealthily spread lime around the house and in her cellar. In a week or so, the smell goes away.

ARose for Emily Thesis Statements and Important Quotes

The town mayor, Colonel Sartoris, tells Emily an implausible story when she receives her first tax notice: The city of Jefferson is indebted to her father, so Emily’s taxes are waived forever. However, a generation of aldermen later confronts Miss Emily about her taxes, and she tells them to see Colonel Sartoris (now long dead, though she refuses to acknowledge his death). Intimidated by Emily and her ticking watch, the aldermen leave, but they continue to send tax notices every year, all of which are returned without comment.

ARose for Emily Analysis

'A Rose for Emily' is divided into five parts. Part one opens at the time of protagonist Emily Grierson 's death. A protagonist is the main character in a story. The entire community attends Emily's funeral, but as the narrator suggests, no one really knew Emily. The narrator is the person telling any given story. In this case, the narrator is unnamed and assumed to be one of the townspeople. As the narrator tells the reader, no one really knew Emily. Emily rarely went out, had never been married, and died alone at age 79. Her entire existence was a puzzle for the townspeople to piece together.

ARose for Emily Summary

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The story portrays Emily as a victim. She had fallen victim to society: first, she had fallen victim to her father’s demeanor and, second, she had also fallen prey to the dictates of society. Perhaps she had killed Homer to satisfy society’s rules that aristocrats should not marry laborers. Despite his murder, she still loved him and defied the town regarding an awful smell that emanated from her house. She had also been resistant to change by not accepting the death of her father and not accepting Homer’s death. The critical analysis essay for A Rose for Emily deems the title character as a victim and thus deserves understanding for her circumstances in life.

Faulkner's most famous, most popular, and most anthologized short story, "A Rose for Emily" evokes the terms Southern gothic and grotesque, two types of literature in which the general tone is one of gloom, terror, and understated violence. The story is Faulkner's best example of these forms because it contains unimaginably dark images: a decaying mansion, a corpse, a murder, a mysterious servant who disappears, and, most horrible of all, necrophilia an erotic or sexual attraction to corpses.

The climax of the story takes place in part three, when Emily decides to buy arsenic from the local pharmacy. While she allows the pharmacist to assume it's for killing rats, there's definitely a red flag here for the reader.

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After that, Homer returned, but that was the last time the town saw him. Speculation ensued and – after Emily was buried – they broke into her house to see the vestiges of her life. The townsfolk saw Homer’s skeletal remains and beside him – a pillow with an indentation of Emily’s head.

There are no facts about Emily’s mother, like she never existed. Narrator only wants to emphasize that she was a father’s daughter and how lonely she was with him. Emily’s white clothes are a Christiane symbol of chastity and innocence, but it is also a color of femininity death imprisoned in the palace of maidens. This color falls into a range of other colors, symbolizing a clamor of emotions that were hidden in the soul of Faulkner’s character.

In 6899, Colonel Sartoris, the mayor, remits Miss Emily’s taxes. For about six or seven years, while in her forties, she gives china-painting lessons to the girls of the town. Then for many years she is seen only at her window. Townspeople watch her black servant Tobe going in and out on errands. A new generation comes to power they insist that Miss Emily pay taxes on her property. When she fails to respond, a deputation calls on her, but she insists that she owes no taxes, as Colonel Sartoris will tell them (he has been dead ten years).

In part two, the narrator further elaborates upon the collective pity the town felt for Emily once her father died. All her father had left behind was the house. When people stopped by to express their condolences about her father's death, Emily told them that her father was not dead. Eventually there was a strange odor that emanated from Emily's house. Faulkner alludes to the possibility that Emily had kept her father's corpse in her home. The narrator confides, 'We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.'

Resistance to change is the underlying theme of American author William Faulkner’s short story entitled “A Rose for Emily.” The critical analysis essay on A Rose for Emily is an in-depth exploration of how the main character, Emily Grierson , relates with the society. Moreover, it is also a story about a woman who had been in the shadow of the overbearing nature of her father for a very long time.

“A Rose for Emily” does not follow the progression of a typical narrative. As it is a short story, the reader can still easily follow the story. It begins with the funeral of the main character – Emily – and how people remember her. It then shifts to a time years before her death when the mayor and aldermen of the next generation reminded Emily of her taxes, by which she rebuffed them haughtily and insisted they see Colonel Sartoris (a deceased town official of the previous generation) as they have an arrangement.

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