Last Updated 06 Jan 2022

Plot Analysis of a Rose for Emily

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“In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes. ” This quote by Benjamin Franklin is a mirror to Emily’s story as it begins with her death and then the reader is abruptly brought into the tax remission she received after the death of her father. This interesting yet confusing vignette is about a girl named Emily Grierson and her inconsiderate relation with the town, a man she loved, Homer Baron, and her Father. For Readers of Faulkner, it is truly apparent that his stories do not follow the pattern of the conventional beginning to the end of the story.

This method of disorderly sequence of events along with the descriptive style tends to lead this story as if we are realistically present in the town. It also keeps the reader attentive for the upcoming rising action present throughout the story. This leaves the reader questioning or predicting the actual outcome, he/she interprets it well after all is being read. It is a southern gothic styled story, a tragic story told by an anonymous narrator that speaks on behalf of the town’s people, but he/she is not related to the protagonist of the story, Emily.

Emily throughout the story is perceived as an object to the reader rather than a character because her side of the story is not personally expressed by her. This type of narration grasps the readers’ level of curiosity as they are not given access into her perception about her life. In the story, two essential elements of life have been readily repeated throughout; taxes and death . Death being the main theme was not accepted or comprehended by Emily’s mindset. This story explains the taxes submission issues faced my Emily.

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The rest of the story revolves around hatred and death in Emily’s chaotic life from which she was once guarded from the rest of the cruel world. The story begins with the death of Miss Emily; readers are presented to Miss Emily’s fight and struggle, with her antagonist time, through the situation she is living in. As it seems the protagonist, Emily tries to pause the time around her to save her loved ones, trying to avoid certainty, death, and thus fails to do so. Miss Emily appearance represents a past era, an era in which she masks her privacy in, declining the changing time being passed by.

She was raised by her father that is why she was encapsulated by silence, inability to believe in reality and inability to happy life; she was the result of her environment. The most minute yet meaningful sentence described in the whole story is in Section II, “So she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell. ” (Faulkner 22) . The use of the definite article mentioned in the sentence abruptly brings about a sense of suspense. It merely shows that it was not just “a smell” but “the smell”.

As brought by the narrator it is justified that the town’s people were familiar of such odor occurring in Emily’s house before. The narrator grants a significance to the smell because ‘the smell’ would had never put such an impact as an “a” smell would have. When Miss Emily refused to give her father’s dead body away, it started to decompose, spreading a pungent odor; same odor was present once again. As for a reader it foreshadows events to come. The way Faulkner presented the story and designed the structure, interpersonal conflicts increased between Emily and the society.

The town is just not a setting but is a character in the story. It is the setting of an old era that held tight to old beliefs and moral values of the South. Social class in the story holds great significance. Faulkner when describes the character “Tobe”, points out the status setting of that era. Tobe was disrespected and was considered a person with no values throughout. For example, Judge Stevens called him as, “…that nigger of hers…” (Faulkner, p. 22); showing racism present during that time frame.

They disgraced the minorities and disrespected their physical existence and social status. People had pride over unnecessary ephemeral high standards that displayed discrimination and inequality. In the story as cited previously, social class was significant in demonstrating dehumanization of blacks but also demonstrating differences in the rich and the poor. Miss Emily is judged for a having romance with a low class, poor citizen of that society, Homer baron. The following sentence affiliates towns’ people response towards Emily’s one and only intimate relationship with Homer. Poor Emily”, the whispering began. “Do you suppose it’s really so? ”, they said to one another, (Faulkner, p. 23). The townspeople felt pity upon her relationship with Homer, as in the eyes of the townspeople a barrier of status was set up, only the deserving or the affluent ones were allowed. Homer was a labor whereas; Miss Emily belonged to a respected rich family. Distinguishing their class differences, Homer was way beyond Miss Emily’s league, an image set in the eyes of the townspeople.

Moreover secrets are kept throughout the story, plotted as such so they are left to the reader to discover them. For example, Faulkner uses the above-mentioned technique in the following line, “…so they were not surprised when the smell developed” (Faulkner, p. 22). The prediction here is that the pungent yet familiar smell developed in Emily’s house due to decaying of a dead body; which for sure is kept as a secret until the end. Emily’s further more surreptitious actions can be observed through the following lines said by the narrator, “We did not say she was crazy then.

We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will” (Faulkner, p. 22). The disguise truth here is that Miss Emily was indeed crazy, and the upcoming horror is that she could be psychotic enough to repeat the same action, holding on to Homer’s dead body. Barron's fate is linked in this passage as Faulkner provides the reader with a hint of death.

The themes of class, race and status are widespread throughout the story, Faulkner repeatedly addresses those themes. ” The town of Jefferson is isolated by race, extremely class and social status conscious people because people disliked and abhorred a women of a high class walking with a low social standing man. In closure “A Rose for Emily” is a captivating short story of a lady who refuses to adopt the changing world and order of society around her. Her denial of certainty and death gives us an understanding of depth of emotions that a girl encounters throughout her life.

It is felt that these disturbed actions would not have taken place if she was placed in a different time and setting. She gave us the impression of a silently killed character that was only physically living. Even though we could not pass through her door we still encountered much information about how and why she was. Faulkner flawlessly points out the broader ideas, including the complexities of northern and southern places at that time frame, complexities of an altering world order, disappearing lands of courtesy and nobility, and rigid social responsibilities of a women.

Plot Analysis of a Rose for Emily essay

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What is the plot of a rose for Emily?

The plot of “A Rose for Emily” separates from the structure of most short stories by not following the normal chronological order. William Faulkner uses flashbacks to give a better understanding of the internal conflict between the protagonist, Miss Emily, and society.

Is a rose for Emily a short story?

In the short story "A Rose for Emily", by William Faulkner, symbolism is used frequently to show insight to hidden meanings in the story. Faulkner uses a rose to symbolize love and secrecy. Emily's house is also used to symbolize Emily as a monument, alienation, and death.

What is the story of a rose for Emily?

A Rose for Emily is the tragic story of Miss Emily Grierson, who is Faulkner's symbol for the dying, decaying traditions and prejudices of the old South. It's a dark tale of parental domination, societal isolation, and mental illness.

What is the meaning of a rose for Emily?

Faulkner's use of the rose in the title of ''A Rose for Emily'' is meant to be symbolic of his feelings toward the character, primarily that of pity toward the tragedies she has endured in her life. We see flowers as a token of sympathy in our everyday lives, such as at funerals or memorial sites.

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