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The Mysteries of William Faulkner Writing In “A Rose for Emily”

The Mysteries of William Faulkner Writing In “A Rose for Emily”

A Rose for Emily is a short story by William Faulkner, first published in 1930 in “Forum” magazine. The story is set in Jefferson City, Mississippi, in the author’s invented county of Yoknapatawpha. This was Faulkner’s first national story.

The Mysteries of William Faulkner Writing “A Rose for Emily”

This story needs a better introduction. William Faulkner is a renowned figure in international literature who described social disintegration following the Civil War. The author examined violence, human degradation, dread, dark minds, and society’s refusal to understand them in his writings. This earned him a Nobel Prize.

Despite its pinkie and optimistic title, “A Rose for Emily” is a gloomy text full of the above themes: dilapidated estate of the “once great aristocratic Grierson family,” a corpse of Homer Barron lying in bed being “loved” for decades, and a mentally disturbed woman Emily Grierson “loved by her father” into loneliness and necrophilia.

This story seems straightforward at first. It’s brief with few characters with restricted roles. Mr Grierson and his daughter Emily — their job is to be noble and essential; Emily’s beloved low-class Homer Barron, whom she kills to keep around her forever; Colonel Sartoris, who exempts them from paying city taxes; Emily’s unbearable cousins who come to her rescue when she falls in love with “nobody Homer”; and the town, which is shocked after the funeral to learn what atrocities were going on in Emily’s house for decades.

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The narrator exposes readers to Faulkner’s story

The narrator is a story about Jefferson town men and women with Emily’s stories. The story jumps back and forth between recollections, stereotypes, and fragments of information that are hard to fit together until the finish. The events end in a gothic swirl of a dark and disturbing story about generations resisting change and doing things “as our parents did.”

Faulkner’s writing methods make his frightening novels mystifying and riveting. This book lacks chapter-to-chapter continuity and constantly shifts the author’s emphasis from one topic or character to another. Below is a timeline of the story’s events. It should help you untangle plot lines and arrange story events.

Focus on the story’s significance for now. Who’s in it? Emily Grierson is a lonely, reserved, obstinate elderly lady. She exemplifies societal unfairness and intransigence. Her father, Mr Grierson, was once a wealthy Southerner but is now clinging to what’s left. He sees the community as his and won’t let anybody approach his daughter. His case shows that even after slavery was abolished, prior enslavers were still honoured and received unearned privileges.

The town’s views, opinions, attitudes, and worries regarding Emily and her family make up a big chunk of the story’s happenings and may be the leading cause for the Grierson family’s unethical behaviour. The narrator begins with Jefferson residents’ memories of Emily Grierson’s funeral.

More on that

Their recollections of Emily are unclear, disjointed, incomplete, from different people, and lack details.

The story’s title suggests that the author doesn’t loathe his character despite his misdeeds. Instead of condemning her, he wants to pay tribute, like a guy giving his woman a flower. Jefferson residents resisted thinking poorly of her.

The village thought she was crazy when she fell in love with Homer, but they couldn’t believe she killed him when her house started to smell. Read more blogs here.

This book shows that some undertake terrible things to influence history and those who shun unpleasant things. Faulkner’s characters are divided into those who want to avoid Emily at all costs (Colonel Sartoris exempts her from taxes, the pharmacist doesn’t ask what she’ll use the arsenic for, and Judge Stevens sends four men to sprinkle lime around her cellar and yard to eliminate the smell) and those who want to worship her.

The story is like reading Jefferson’s thinking. It’s unclear if Emily’s shortcomings caused the story’s gloom or if everyone’s did. We all have our quirks.

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Ordering “A Rose for Emily”

Emily Grierson is born around the Civil War to a dominating and intrusive man who exaggerates his background. He isolates her, but this makes the town more interested in her. She’s a settlement symbol.

Despite losing riches and prestige, the Grierson family is still a Jefferson trophy and pride.

Emily kept her father’s death secret for three days in 1894. In 1894, after her father dies, Mayor Colonel Sartoris exempts Emily from municipal taxes. Nobody believes the town chief’s story that Miss Emily’s father lent money to the city council. Emily gives a few youngsters music lessons but isolates herself in her estate, not associating with others.

Homer Barron comes from North seeking construction work in the town and starts a relationship with Emily the summer after her father’s death. Townspeople disapprove of this noblewoman-low-class nobody relationship. Emily’s cousins from Alabama are called to talk to her.

Then Homer’s cousins leave

Emily buys rat poison a year after dating Barron. Nobody cares that she wants to harm herself. Emily later buys masculine attire and a personalized shaving kit. Emily and Barron may marry, say some.

Barron returns to town three days after Emily’s cousins left (the community thinks their character is even worse than Emily’s).

Emily’s residence smells following her father’s death. Nobody in town dares challenge her. After a week of spraying lime about her house, the scent disappears. Since then, no one seems to remember the woman.

New town leaders (Board of Aldermen) visit Emily’s residence 30 years later to reject a prior bargain and demand her pay city taxes. She denies doing so.

74-year-old Emily dies. The whole village attends her funeral and shares memories of her. After the funeral, guests enter her residence after ten years. Her servant admits them and leaves.

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