Origin of Title “Rose for Emily”
This wonderful story was written in 1930. The story is classified as a science fiction genre. William Faulkner is one of those writers whose works are difficult to read even in a “small format.” The classical plot and eventfulness, which all theorists recognize as genre-writing for the novel, are relative and blurred in his small prose’s composition since they retreat behind the scenes of the protagonist’s inner life. Conflict as the primary and driving force of eventfulness is specific and is generated not by collisions between people but between a person and the world.
In creating his southern saga, William Faulkner settled several families, including the Griersonives. And although the towns of this district and their inhabitants are unique, they are quite typical for America’s southern cities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Simultaneously, the word “saga” hints to us that in the American writer’s ancestral history, along with realistic episodes, heroic or fabulous ones can be contained.
“A Rose for Emily” is a short story about the Griersons, where the last member of the family, Emily, broke down and went mad with grief. Our acquaintance with Emily begins from the moment when a funeral is organized in her honor. All citizens were gathered here to salute the last woman of the Griersons family. There was no single guest in her house for ten years, only a faithful servant who helped with household chores. The story is structured to return to Emily’s past life and get acquainted with her highlights.
Speaking in Japan (1955), Faulkner said that “the title of the story is allegorical. Before us is the tragedy of a woman, an irreparable tragedy, the consequences of which cannot be changed, but I feel sorry for this woman, and with the title of the story, I greet her, just like saluting with a hand. Women in such cases are presented with a rose; they raise a cup of sake for men. “
Summary Books “Rose for Emily” – Part One
The main character, Miss Emily, lived in a house that was similar to the style of aristocrats, with white walls, high domes, decorations, small balconies. The house looked like a palace where the princess lived. She was considered the beloved daughter of her father. At the very beginning of the story, a thin girl in a white dress stands before us. However, her father brought up her severely, sometimes used a whip, and beat his daughter in the back room.
The inhabitants of the city were put to the Griersons family with contempt because the guardians did not allow their daughter to marry an ordinary guy, and we’re looking for someone who would be worthy of her hand. When Emily turned 30, she was still lonely, which at that time was considered unacceptable. Sometimes behind her back, the women laughed at her. In the story, the author does not particularly describe the mother but emphasizes her existence. Perhaps the idea was to show how Emily was dependent on her father’s decisions.
Miss Emily was born somewhere before the Civil War, and the Gerson House was built in the 70s. That is, we understand that Emily’s father was successful even after the war, and being part of the southern aristocracy, earning thanks to slaves, was still a reason to be proud. People like them are above the law. The house acts as a symbol of power and money on the one hand, and on the other – a prison instead of a love nest.
Summary Books “Rose for Emily” – Part Two
When Emily was only 32 years old, she loses Mr. Grierson. The neighbors helped the woman organize the funeral. But the residents of the city were amazed because Emily was dressed in a regular dress, and there was no emotion of sorrow on her face. Another striking fact is that the woman convinces everyone that her father is alive. It took the priests three days to convince Emily that her father was dead. Then they asked to hold the funeral according to custom, but when this method did not work, they decided to use force and law. Only after that did Emily agree to the funeral.
Miss Emily’s cousin, Miss Wyeth, went crazy at the end of her life, then no one said that Miss Emily was also troubled. They understood her: since her father discouraged all possible admirers from her, left with nothing, she would cling to her hand; she was dispossessed. For the next six months, she was sick, and when they saw her again, her hair was cropped short, she looked like a girl and a little like those angels who are painted on colored church windows – somewhat tragic and carefree.
For a woman, cutting her hair means gaining new strength, confidence, and untied loose hair as an expression of freedom. Therefore, having experienced a personal tragedy, Emily Grierson is reborn and appears before us in a new image – an angel. So it must be remembered that these invisible forces correspond to these flat hierarchies of human values: from the mystics’ highest spirituality to man’s complete moral fall.
Summary Books “Rose for Emily” – Part Three
Interestingly, the next character is embodied in the figure of Miss Emily – the image of a Woman Warrior. This type’s main characteristics are efficiency in achieving its goal and implementation methods – aggression, competition. This is a potentially killing woman. She is consistent and rational in her actions. In love, she does not allow familiarity with herself and needs respect, especially in bed. A victim who turns her weakness and victimhood into a powerful psychological weapon shifts responsibility for herself and her life to others.
In the quiet negro Tobi, who performed both the functions of a gardener and a cook, a worker’s image is best embodied. He runs the household, goes shopping. Devoted and talkative, he always protects his mistress’s privacy from the inquisitive eyes and ears of Jefferson’s residents. It was he who sounded the alarm when Miss Emily died, and, letting people into the house on the day of the funeral, quietly and imperceptibly left the house and the city, not wanting to reveal at least some truth about his mistress.
Freed from the guard, Emily meets Homer Burron in the summer. The dark-skinned worker from the north was far from an ally or a hero for the Woman-Warrior. He embodied more the image of the Clown / Trickster. In a few days, he got acquainted with all the inhabitants of the city. Wherever he appeared, there was laughter. He loved strong words, a male company, and drinking at the Moose Club. And most importantly, he did not belong to the circle of Miss Emily.
Summary Books “Rose for Emily” – Part Four
Emily successfully took on the role of the victim. When the mayor of the city became aware that Emily had nothing left but a house, then events turned even better in women’s favor. He came up with a story that got Emily tax-free. But here, the episode looks very strange because the writer did not specify for what money Emily managed to live, buy food, clothes, have fun.
Walking with Homer Barron, the woman used the image she invented in every possible way. It was the phrase “Poor Emily” that became the symbol of the novel. All the people who lived in the city considered Emily unhappy and sorry. Every acquaintance closed their eyes to Emily’s bad deeds. This situation allowed the woman to keep her head straight and look at other citizens with contempt. She demanded respect for her personality. The city inhabitants did not want Emily to remain an old maid and found the strength to take the unhappy young lady’s side.
But the cousins drove off, and after you once dropped Homer into your house through the back door, no one else saw Mr. Barron. After a while, a small event happened. Miss Emily’s neighbors began to complain to the city council about the stench coming from Mons Grierson’s house. Judge Stevens replied that it was completely indecent to accuse the lady of smelling bad and suggested that it was possible that the Negro servant had killed a rat or a snake, and forgot to remove it. The only thing that the council members could do was to scatter lime under cover of night at the basement windows and around the house of Mes Grierson, hiding so that the hostess, who was sitting motionless in one of the windows, like an idol, would not notice them.
Summary Books “Rose for Emily” – Part Five
Since the disappearance of Homer Barron, Miss Emily has again locked herself in the house for almost six months, and the next time she was seen, she changed a lot: she became fat and began to turn gray. Miss Emily, who was going through yet another inner drama, needed time to recover. However, instead of the Woman-Victim, she now has the image of the Queen-Widow.
From now on, she is always in black and leaned on a stick with a dull gold head. With a pale face and eyes pressed into folds of fat, like two sparks in the dough, she looked very much like a beggar. Somewhere at the end of the chain was a watch, hidden in the folds of clothes. Mourning clothes and watches hint that their mistress wants to bury time, to stop its restless movement, but it still moves forward.
The way she handled herself during a meeting with the new generation of the city council thirty years ago confirms this opinion. Realizing that Colonel Sartoris’s order to abolish taxes had no legitimacy, they sent her a tax bill, but no response came. And only after the official letter, they received a response, written in liquid ink, on an old-fashioned sheet of paper, where Miss Emily announced that she did not leave the house at all, and added a blank sheet to the letter.
When she decided to go to the older woman, she showed herself like a queen. This testifies that the woman lived in the past, for her time stopped. She, in every way, tries to forget all the tragedies that were on her way. The writer makes us understand that the main thing for her is to defeat all the people who hurt her; first of all, it was her parents. She managed with her character, desire, spirit to prove that she is strong and won’t let herself be offended.
Summary Books “Rose for Emily” – Part Six
Miss Emily spent 40 years as a widow. She nearly went mad after the death of Prince Albert and lost all interest in government affairs. And most importantly, she decided to keep the room in which her husband died intact. These chambers were closed to others. The queen demanded that fresh men’s linen be on the bed every evening and freshwater in the washstand, that he was still alive. She visited these chambers every day when the courtyard was at Windsor.
And although the city guessed about Miss Emily’s secret, because everyone knew that she was buying poison, the city hid it. The civil war completely changed the world in which the southerners lived. Their way of life turned out to be shameful, rude, and wrong. Is it easy to admit this to people with southern pride? Also, the aristocracy representatives have always been a model, a pillar of their way of life. Accordingly, they looked at Miss Emily as an old relative who may not be loved but must be respected along with all her quirks and flaws.
When Miss Emily was buried, on the second floor, and not visited, probably for many years, they found a room that was barely opened. It was a bedroom, cleaned like before the wedding, all in pink, where everything was covered with a thick layer of dust, like a shroud. On the bed lay the body of Homer Barron, and next to it, on the second pillow, there was a long trace strand of gray hair.
One can only guess what happened between the two. Perhaps at some point, Miss Emily realized that Homer was unlikely to become her husband. We find a lot of symbolism in this book. Pink is the color of love, fidelity. Covered with dust, the pink almost faded and turned gray, symbolizing the futility of hopes for happy love and married life.
However, a thick layer of dust symbolizes that both the building and its owner lived in the past. And finally, the scene where we meet the word “rose” in the text translates as “pink.” The author himself said that the word “rose” in the title is a return of honor to a woman who survived a tragedy, but it is an ironic gift for Emily.
She looked at life through rose-colored glasses, and it showed her only thorns. This little story helped us reveal the motives of a woman who is forced to hide from all people that she sincerely wants to be loved and find a family. In the end, in the struggle for her happiness, she committed a crime and lost her mind.
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