A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily”
tells a story of a young woman who is
violated by her father’s strict
mentality. After being the only man in
her life Emily’s father dies and she
finds it hard to let go. Like her father
Emily possesses a stubborn outlook
towards life, and she refused to change.

While having this attitude about life
Emily practically secluded herself from
society for the remainder of her life.

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She was alone for the very first time
and her reaction to this situation was
This story takes place throughout the
Reconstruction Era from the late 1800’s
to the early 1900’s in Jefferson,
Mississippi. Emily was raised in the
period before the Civil War. Her father
who was the only person in her life with
the exception of a former lover who soon
left her as well raised her. The plot of
this story is mainly about Miss Emily’s
attitude about change. While growing up
Emily was raised in a comfortable
environment because her father possessed
a lot of money. Considering that her
father was a very wealthy person who
occasionally loaned the town money Emily
had everything a child could want. This
caused Emily to be very spoiled and
selfish and she never knew the value of
a dollar until her father left her with
nothing but a run down home that started
to decay after a period of time. She
began to ignore the surrounding decay of
the house and her appearance. These lies
continued as she denied her father’s
death, refused to pay taxes, ignores
town gossip about her being a fallen
woman, and does not tell the druggist
why she purchased rat poison. Her life,
like the decaying house suffered from a
lack of genuine love and care. Her
physical appearance is brought about by
years of neglect. As time went on pieces
from Emily started to drift away and
also the home that she confined herself
to. The town grew a great deal of
sympathy towards Emily, although she
never hears it. She was slightly aware
of the faint whispers that began when
her presence was near. Gossip and
whispers may have been the cause of her
hideous behavior. The town couldn’t wait
to pity Ms. Emily because of the way she
looked down on people because she was
born with a silver spoon in her mouth
and she never thought she would be alone
the way her father left her.

Miss Emily might have stayed out of the
public eye after the two deaths because
she was finally alone, something she in
her petty life was not use to. Emily’s
father never left her alone and when he
died Homer Barron was a treat that she
was never allowed to have. He later died
and left her and she was completely
alone after that. After her fathers
death she went out very little; after
her sweetheart went away, people hardly
saw her at all. ( )
With this dilemma she isolates herself
from civilization, using her butler,
Tobe to run her errands. Miss Emily
cannot except the fact that times are
changing and society is growing. Maybe
Miss Emily is shy about her old
fashioned beliefs. If no one was to
observe her then no one could force her
to change. Emily had been through much
and has seen many generations grow
before and around her. This brings
reason to her strong Confederate
beliefs. Miss Emily refused to allow
modern change into her depressed life.

For example when she refused to let the
newer generation fasten metal numbers
above her door and attach a mailbox when
Jefferson got free mail service. This
reflects Emily’s stubborn persona caused
by her father’s treatment when she was

“A Rose for Emily is told through the
eyes of the townspeople. William
Faulkner expressed a lot of the
resident’s opinions towards Emily and
her family’s history. They mentioned old
lady Wyatt, her great aunt who had gone
completely mad.


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