The paper deals with the novel “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. It is claimed that differences between the Southern and Northern way of life after the civil war are reflected in the main characters of the novel. The author showed himself in this writing as a master of narration, representation and portrayal. “A Rose for Emily” is considered to be a story the sense of which is hidden, thus it represents a perfect material for analysis and is widely discussed by different scientists. A conservative nature of Emily is opposed to an aspired and liberated nature of Homer Barron. The problems of love and sexuality are opposed to the rules of the patriarchal and conservative society.
Key words: patriarchal society, madness, mental capacity, isolation, freedom.
“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is a short story with a hidden sense. That makes it very interesting for close and deep analysis. A lot of interpretations are widely known concerning the meaning of the story, but it remains controversial. Emily Grierson murdered Homer Barron and this deed split her world in two: the past and the present. It is interesting that characterization in the story “A Rose for Emily” leads to the ideas on The New South (if to refer to the image of Emily), which is shown as an independent and strong fighter for his rights.
Historical perspective and the re-shape of society
“A Rose for Emily” should be considered in the hist...
orical perspective. The main characters of the novel are struggling with their mentalities in order to reshape them in accordance with the social changes, which occurred after the civil war in America. The novel reminds us a circle of gossips and the main character, Ms Emily is absorbed in it. This is awful for her and she suffers from that greatly. The main heroin is from a noble family of the small community and at her local level she had a quite another life in comparison with that which was coming up to her.
An intriguing pitfall of this story can be found when discussing Homer Barron, who “liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks’ Club-that he was not a marrying man” (Faulkner). Maybe, when Emily murdered him, she wanted to get rid of a spoiled part of her close person. As far as we can see, at this point not only her independence, but also her idealistic nature is revealed. Emily’s idealistic nature can be seen in a way she organized a murder, when she put man’s suit carefully on the chair. Thus she created male image next to the dead body of Homer Barron and underlined that the real ‘murderer’ was his affection for men and not the owner of “a long strand of iron-gray hair” (Faulkner).
When Homer who “liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks’ Club-that he was not a marrying man” (Faulkner), disappeared, it was a great surprise for Emily. She was a gentle woman and people from a small town and her
small community did not bother her. There is a detached interest of people from the small town in Emily. Someone spies on her, but no one interferes in her personal life. Her personal business stays aside from the community and maybe it is the most negative feature of estrangement, which is experienced in such a way by the other members of the community.
Rigid values of the South and a perverted attitude to the values of the Northern Americans are proven by a too serious interpretation of the values to Ms Emily by her father. He was too critical to her potential suitor, because they were not too good for her. This woman did not get married for life because of her father’s excessive care about her. Moreover, this woman experienced a constant pressure and she went mad in the result of the Southern norms of behavior for the people from the aristocratic societies. In the beginning of the novel it is rather dubious to claim that a woman has a great problem with her mentality and mind. She lives in her own world (Miller).
Emily lived in her past, she didn’t want to loose those precious bonds and in order to preserve even the part of the past for her, her lover, Homer Barron; thus she murdered him. Moreover, a motif of independence and arrogance can bee also seen in this story. Emily disdains gossips in town about her personal (relationships with Homer Barron) and social life (refusal to pay taxes). Therefore, the murder is a sign of protest and independence manifestation. Independence of this woman is seen in description of her ‘iron-grey’ hair. She was ‘iron’ herself, implacable, even merciless, and strong; she was above all superstitions and lived her own life
Society conflicts and sexuality
There are numerous conflicts in the Southern and Northern societies, such as opposing a woman to the society. There is a too intense criticism against her being like an Old Maid or an isolated woman. It is better to get married to someone. Her bedroom secrets occur as the well-known personal features of Emily to the rest of the society. This woman suffers from the isolation versus community. She is opposed to the rest members of the society (Maldonado-Torres).
There is a need to clarify the community’s expectations and real feelings and behavior of Emily. The narrator outlines at her funerals that she was ‘‘a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town’’ (Faulkner 1991, p. 32). In reality, we know that this woman had almost no contacts with other members of the society. She was an isolated and a detached woman. She had relations with Homer Barron, went shopping for arsenic and men’s clothing, and was educating young women in the China-painting lessons (Faulkner, 1991).
A lot of interpretations are widely known concerning the meaning of the story “A Rose for Emily”. Along with the discussion of the hidden sense of the story, it is relevant to turn our attention to the devices the author used in order to intrigue his readers. Faulkner showed himself in