A Rose for Emily William Faulkner: A Book Review

In the story, A Rose for Emily William Faulkner shows how Emily struggles with the physical and emotional effects of isolation. William Faulkner’s 1930 novel “A Rose for Emily” is regarded as his best masterpiece. The plot revolves around Emily Grierson, who is the central protagonist. “A Rose for Emily” is indeed a cautionary tale regarding the impacts of social-based isolation in a scenario where individuals are distanced from the societal structure, even behind essential attributes in a developing community. All endeavors in their daily existence to come back to the societal structure will result from isolation because of the inability to adapt (Barani et al. p.157). The first two portions of Faulkner’s novella depict Emily’s isolated and unhappy circumstances; afterward, the Father offers that she resides alone within the cottage outside the family. As Emily’s father dismissed the young fellow from Emily’s life, her condition is disclosed. In the story, A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner shows how the character Emily struggles with the physical and emotional effects of isolation.

The novel starts with an anonymous protagonist’s first-person description of Miss Emily Grierson’s burial within Jefferson. Emily eventually relates the memories of unusual conduct until her demise in a non-linear pattern. The story depicts more extensive notions about how harsh social restraints stifle women’s advancement. It also depicts abnormal psychology and necrophilia that draws the audience throughout Emily Grierson’s narrative (Khrais and Sura p.29). It embodies various grim themes, including resistance to changes, the strength of mortality, societal degradation, and solitude, as a piece featuring the “Southern Gothic” and the “Old South.” Emily Grierson portrays the notion of loneliness, which runs throughout the novel. In light of this, this article will look at how Faulkner uses solitude as a motif in his work.

Firstly, Jefferson’s residents develop some form of isolation. The public’s traits, like being very judgmental and possessing a hypocritical mindset, contribute to Emily’s incapacity to contact an individual’s chevalier. The citizens of Jefferson scrutinize chevalier Emily at various periods throughout her lifetime (Mohammed and Maha p.385). The townspeople, via the storyteller, deliver a few of the materials found within Emily’s home, helping to describe her throughout the story over her burial. Emily is portrayed as a member of such an affluent family with just an exquisite mansion in the first chapter of the narrative. It is now regarded as “an eyesore among eyesores.” The schism that prevailed between Emily’s household and the citizens of Jefferson led to the assumption that Emily owed Jefferson something. Emily is characterized as adamant about her home and losing enthusiasm for it since she failed to repay taxes (Huang 202). She also did not handle the town officials with their deserved dignity, instead of treating them coldly and hostilely. Emily despised authorities, and her assertion to verify an individual who had been deceased for around ten years demonstrates her isolation and alienation from the community.

In addition, the narrative’s second portion depicts Emily’s isolation again from the townspeople through her strained connection with companions. The town citizens chose not to challenge Emily concerning her tax obligations or her businesses throughout the town. Whenever Emily walks to the pharmacist to get arsenic, they have a brief argument. The pharmacist informs Emily that “the law compels you to tell what you are planning to use it for” (Faulkner 133), but Emily doesn’t respond. The pharmacist wrapped and labelled “for rats” the arsenic (Petry and Alice p.53). As per the readers, this is a presupposition that Emily is now being termed a rat and needs to be secluded. When Emily was purchasing arsenic to murder herself, her sense of isolation from the other village members fueled her decision. The town residents never asked her about the terrible odor from her home. The scent coming from Emily’s residential house foreshadows that her home is rotting, to the point where the locals decide to treat her property with lime salts.

Despite passing judgments and conducting investigations into Emily, they conveniently overlook that she struggled with such a psychiatric illness that rendered her mentally impaired and highly disturbed. Still, they are not even examining the possibility of death until forty years later. Emily became isolated due to the townspeople’s drifting further from her, resulting in her frustration, loneliness, and, regrettably, madness. Furthermore, Emily’s father contributes significantly to her seclusion. Her unstable self is founded based on her dad’s trauma. Emily grew up with a solid attachment to her dad, and she became highly reliant on his presence and her father’s assistance. Faulkner explained Emily’s life reliance by saying, “If she were left with nothing, she would have to cling on to what she had stolen as humans want”(Putrid 20). She sticks to her dad after his death since she has been secluded from that one person who kept her relying on him all through her life. Emily never inflicted the agony in her countenance, and she will not till her father dies. Disputing the death and disposal of a father’s body demonstrates that Emily needs to be in her company.

The claim that her dad was seen as a menacing figure who scared away potential suitors explains why Emily preserved her dad’s body. She demonstrates her fragility whenever she allows them to get access to the body after learning of his demise. Her loneliness causes her to become obsessed with murder. Emily’s necrophilia also demonstrates her impotence and rage toward her dad. She was indeed in such a psychopathic condition where she was motivated by a desperate desire for revenge against her dad and a deep loathing of society.

On the other hand, Emily is delighted whenever a foreigner is allowed into her universe. Unfortunately, her euphoria in her recently established relationship is fleeting, and they eventually part ways. Emily’s failure to form a lasting, loving relationship is apparent, amplifying her isolation and loneliness and the pain of being rejected. This neglect later turns her into a disturbed individual. Whenever Homer arrives at Jefferson, he concentrates Emily’s attention. He restores Emily’s sense of normalcy in human connection, reminding her of when Homer abandoned her, discouraging her. Consequently, Emily considers murdering Homer to have his companionship all to herself. She thought that murdering Homer and preserving him would bring her happiness. This demonstrates how Emily’s isolation drove her to do horrific things to recover from her dad’s departure and forced seclusion. Therefore, her fragility can even still be attributed to the absence of affection as loneliness.

Finally, Emily’s residence can portray isolation. Emily’s residence might be seen as a reflection of oneself or an extension of oneself. Emily’s sole physical captivity has always been her house. Notwithstanding her isolation, Emily’s house is the only place she truly engages until she dies. The mansion in the novel is known for its scenic distinction since it is located on a “select street,” similar to Emily’s personification of elegance. The mansion had degraded over the decades, much like Emily’s fragility, adding to the outrageousness of Jefferson municipality. The windowpane, together with the front entrance, is the critical emblem of isolation and loneliness in the particular structure of the residence. The townspeople only could make sense of a slim person glimpsed through the window pane after Homer abandoned Emily.

As a result, a distinct image of imprisonment emerges. Within the narration, the narrator claims that “Now and then we would glimpse her at a window for a bit,” in the account, and “now and then we’d see her in one of the downstairs windows—she had closed up the upper floors of the home” (Faulkner 123). The villagers also formed the idea that Emily and her dad were “framed by the back-flung front door,” as a descriptor for both. When Emily kills Homer, the narrator adds that “the front door remains closed” for 40 years, implying that the mansion is correlated to her isolation. When she gets female learners, the classes come to a halt, and it is stated that “the front door shuts upon the last one and remained closed for good” (Faulkner 124). Examining all of this, the reader is left wondering what role the frames have in this situation. The frames are photos of captivity intended to illustrate Emily’s alleged incarceration while residing with her dad. Her dad could have forced her into isolation, or she could have chosen it.

Emily lacks any social base to assimilate into the society when she was 30 years of age following her father’s demise. The family’s overall schooling is segregated, losing their childhood lifestyles and learning possibilities. Recently gaining social signs, talking with everyone else, and forming deep connections are basic social abilities that can only be learned through practice. He cannot assimilate into the culture since he has not had the chance to experience reality. Emily utilized the Faulkner example to emphasize the psychological impacts of isolation even when a person is no longer isolated from society. Since they were more concentrated on personal ties and have been secluded from everybody, the family’s craziness grows throughout the story. Emily has refused to attend her dad’s funeral, lacks personal cleanliness, and enjoys sleeping beside the corpse. Emily’s despair pushed her to murder Homer Barron to keep him eternally. This becomes a temporary attempt to remedy the negative impacts of an alienated relationship by including social networking sites, resulting in new issues because development is still constrained due to unsolved issues.

“A Rose for Emily” depicts aspects of Emily’s existence that have driven her insane. Before finding the worst truth about Emily’s personality, the specifics about the community and the storytelling viewpoint that has shaped the sympathetic impression about Emily are discussed. Emily’s solitary childhood and life have hindered her from developing the core abilities needed to succeed in society (Huang 202). Upon having more liberty following her dad’s murder, Emily is far too late in incorporating herself into society since she lacks the necessary basis. Emily Faulkner’s secrets have been revealed by focusing on several circumstances that led up to her conduct.

To conclude, Emily’s life demonstrates that one of the most terrible people is created by circumstances rather than born. “Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner depicts Emily lifestyle as a disordered person whose been shaped by her severe solitude throughout her life. Loneliness has been reflected in numerous elements throughout the narrative. The narrator, who is a depiction of the Jefferson residents, has contributed to Emily’s feeling of alienation. Her dad is regarded as the primary source of her loneliness and isolation. Eventually, Emily’s residence is a literal and metaphorical manifestation of captivity.

Works Cited

Barani, Forough, and Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya. “Binary Opposition, Chronology of Time and Female Identity in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, vol. 3.2, 2014, pp.155-160.

Huang, Yan. “An Analysis on Rose in A Rose for Emily.” Journal of Social Science Studies 6.2 (2019): pp.202-205.

Khrais, Sura M. “Rereading ‘A Rose for Emily from the Perspective of Wolfgang Iser’s Reader Response Theory.” International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies vol.5.3, 2017, pp.28-31.

Mohammed, Maha Bakir. “Literary Pragmatic Analysis of William Faulkner’s” A Rose for Emily”.” Journal of Al-Frahedis Arts III (2020): pp.382-395.

Petry, Alice Hall. “Faulkner’sa Rose for Emily.” The Explicator vol.44.3, 1986, pp.52-54.

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