A Rose for Emily Analysis Notes
The narrator tells us twice that Miss Emily is similar to an idol, suggesting that because she was raised to think she is above others, and because others were raised to look at her that way as well, she is permanently cut off from other people. Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her, and her upright torso motionless as that of an idol. Now and then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows–she had evidently shut up the top floor of the house–like the carven torso of an idol physically alive but spiritually and psychologically dead.
Faulkner describes Emily dressed in black, as though in mourning, her eyes comparable to “two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough. ” She is obese, not simply plump. “She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. ” story spins backwards and forwards in time like memory. The story’s structure is meant to mimic the way that memories are passed on from one generation to the next. When Miss Emily begins dating Homer Barron, she is trying to free herself from her father’s past control, and from the tradition of being a proper lady.?
The action of killing Homer Barron can be understood that Miss Emily was afraid that he would leave her, afraid of letting him go, so she decided to kill him, so that she doesn’t have to afraid of losing him, of changing, Homer Barron would still stay with her forever. Emily was the proof of a person who always lived on the shadow of the past. Grierson’s house “it was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. The society was changing every minutes but still, Emily’s house was still remained like a symbol of seventieth century. The second evident show in the first flashback of the story, the event that Miss Emily declined to pay taxes. In her mind, her family was a powerful family and they didn’t have to pay any taxes in the town of Jefferson. When members of the Board of Aldermen visit Emily to see about the taxes a decade before her death, they hear her pocket watch ticking, hidden somewhere in the folds of her clothing and her body.
This is a signal to us that for Miss Emily time is both a mysterious “invisible” force, and one of which she has always been acutely aware. With each tick of the clock, her chance for happiness dwindles. Another symbol of time is Emily’s hair. The town tells time first by Emily’s hair, and then when she disappears into her house after her hair has turned “a vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man” (4. 6). When Emily no longer leaves the house, the town uses Tobe’s hair to tell time, watching as it too turns gray.
The strand of Emily’s hair found on the pillow next to Homer, is a time-teller too, though precisely what time it tells is hard to say. The narrator tells us that Homer’s final resting place hadn’t been opened in 40 years, which is exactly how long Homer Barron has been missing. But, Emily’s hair didn’t turn “iron-gray” until approximately 1898, several years after Homer’s death. ? the druggist writes on Emily’s packet of arsenic, under the poison sign? “For rats. If Homer is planning to break a promise to marry Emily, she, in the southern tradition, would most probably have considered him a rat. The story basically addresses the changes in the South after the Civil War. Miss Emily is considered a “monument” of Southern manners and an ideal of past values. The Old South generations were deteriorating very rapidly by changing traditions, and as well as mannerisms. When Miss Emily died, her and her house both become symbols of their dying generation.
Setting Analysis of the Story a Rose for Emily
The layers of dust also suggest the cloud of obscurity that hides Emily’s true nature and the secrets her house contains. When the aldermen arrive to try and secure Emily’s annual tax payment, the house smells of “dust and disuse. ” The power Emily’s father has over Emily can be seen in a portrait of the two that the narrator describes: “Emily a slender woman in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip. (141) He does in fact control her like a horse, never allowing her to date anyone. And until his death she indeed does not. the rose as representative of Emily and the Southern way of life. It was lovely and enviable in its prime, but not without thorns. The south has good weather, beautiful ladies, wealthy landowners and everything is prosperous; however, slavery is an ugly blot on it, hence the thorns. The rose can also be a symbol of sympathy towards Miss Emily who yearns for love but in the end has to embrace the dead for solace.