English 11/AP, Period 3
30 September 2014 The Depiction of Emily
William Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily” (rpt. in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson,
Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 10th edition [Boston: Wadsworth, 2009]
526534) shows how people cling to those who have taken something from them as seen in
Emily’s relationship with her father, Homer Barron, and the townspeople. Often one’s holding onto the past and failure to change can lead to loneliness, unfortunate results, and often radical disaster. Miss Emily Grierson demonstrates this failure and refusal to advance and/or change from the past by letting herself to be a recluse and decaying both physically and mentally. Because of Emily’s reclusiveness, her appearance starts to deteriorate just like her house. Emily’s seclusion is a result of her father’s, Mr. Grierson, strict and prideful ways. The townspeople recall the time when “...her father had driven them [ suitors ] away…” (par. 28).
The Griersons were of the wealthy and the elite and Mr. Grierson held great pride to that. He didn’t want his daughter, Emily, to marry just any man. Every man or suitor that came, simply wasn’t good enough for Emily, and this took a toll on her. Emily becomes secluded from society before Mr. Grierson’s death and after. This seclusion takes a toll on her physical and mental health as well, resulting in her drastic change of appearance. As Emily grows older, she starts to gain weight. She starts to look more like death, “...her skeleton was small and spare...her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough… ’’ (par.
6). Along with her drastic weight gain, her house seems to be decaying and growing old along with her. Her house was described as “...an eyesore among eyesores…” (par. 2) and decaying in a coquettish way. As a result of her deterioration, her house decays as well.
As a result of Emily’s need to cling to people, an unfortunate result erupts itself into her life and Homer Barron. Homer Barron was a likable and laid back sort of guy. The townspeople often describe him as being the guy who livens the party, “...whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group…” (par. 30). However, when Homer started to cling around Emily and the townspeople saw them more and more together, many people thought against him. Someone so elite and of upper status should not be involved with common people, such as Homer. The townspeople expressed this idea quite clearly when Miss Emily buys a bottle of arsenic.
“...When she opened the package at home there was written on the box, under the skull and bones: “For rats.”(par. 42). The druggist wrote that on the bottle referring to Homer, the rat, which was a common nickname for a man, in the south, who led a woman on to marriage, but then had no intention of marrying her. Because of Homer’s sudden change in thought and in action, Emily is pressed with a disastrous outcome which ultimately results in Homer’s death.
Emily clings to the people who have taken something from her. With her father, Emily was derived the chance to have a husband at a suitable age. Because of her father’s banishment of suitors fit for her, she clings to what she has left: her father. “...she told them…