A Rose for Who? A Rose for Emily Analysis Essay Example

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What could possibly drive a southern woman to become estrange to the common tradition? The tradition of being a good house wife in the early 1900’s, and being as lady-like and feminine as possible. Taking care of the home and keeping it neat for anyone who has a visual of the house. Could it be that she never had a mother, or that her father was overwhelmingly pressing? Emily Grierson was not a product of her environment but she was a product of a closed world controlled by her father. Emily was trying to find herself a motherly relationship to find a piece of herself she never got to experience. 

To begin with, not having both parents during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s was a rarity during this time. The more rare event is not having a mother during this time. This is the case for Emily Grierson. Not having a mother greatly affected her, resulting in her very own masculinity. She first presents her stern and firm attitude to the Board of Alderman. “Her voice was dry and cold. "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves" (Faulkner, 1930). Here is a simple example of her manly dialogue and rugged speech.

Emily Grierson is all about business. Her outward appearance is described as tough and not lady-like. Her hair was once short and gray making her look like a female, but later on in the story, the description is changed.“ During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray…Up to the day of her death at seventy-four it was still that vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man” (Faulkner, 1930).  She was not letting her self fall apart but was she showing her true colors. “Emily's discourse is also male, very straightforward and not ornate as would be a Southern lady befitting” (Kirchdorfer, 2016). With her stern and straightforward demeaner, it made sense to why she would allow a male figure like Homer Barron into her household. 

Again, allowing a man like Homer Barron into her home showed the weak side and insecurity of her life. Her weakness was not having a feminine motherly figure in her like, hence why she permitted Homer to enter. Homer being homosexual filled the feminine role that she was pursuing her entire life. Emily buying homer an elegant silver toilet set and complete men’s outfit showed that he was the female of the relationship. Homer never being saw again after entering Emily’s house showed that she does all the work and errands while he is being pampered by her. We know Homer was fond of men by “he 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, 1930).

It can be concluded that Emily Grierson’s mental state was one of a psycho. Her expression and actions show that she was trying to fulfill her needs but in all she needed help. Homer and Emily’s relationship is the cause for the title “A Rose for Emily.” It is possible to say that Homer Barron was the rose that Faulkner was talking about. The rose have another meaning however. “The 'Rose' represents secrecy” (Melczarek, 2009). The secrecy of her missing piece in life, her masculinity, and finally, the murder that she commits. 

Last but certainly not least, Homer Barron’s death most definitely represents more than Emily Grierson’s psychotic thinking. The murder or poisoning represents her secret weakness which is how her motherly role was not there as a child. “The murder is concealed by secrecy and false assumptions” (Binder, 2012). The murder that had took place was a psychotic element that Emily thought she had achieved. She thought that killing the motherly and feminine figure in the house was a way to not be without that element again. Because her mother was not around, her killing Homer was a way of making sure that he never left, so she never was without the missing piece in her life. She commits the murder and buys him clothing to make him look comfortable although he is dead. Now that Homer could never leave, her void was not perished so she was able to live peacefully until she died. She tries to preserve his body but fails due to the house reeking of odor. Her psychotic ways went to the grave with her.

In all, “A Rose for Emily” was a story who’s underlying meaning and message was not easily caught by the eye. Reading the story straight through will only give a tip of the iceberg, while the rest will be hidden until one dwells deeper into the story. From the tip, it looks as if an old town lady is grumpy and eventually dies with her butler and sweetheart, but in all, it was an old lady who had a missing void in her life that led to psychopathic actions. The attempt to replace her mother with a homosexual male shows the mind state of Emily. Emily Grierson and her father rejected social norms for their own contentment. Emily’s insecurity finally stopped when the day came, the day being her funeral. 

Work Cited

Binder, Aubrey. “Uncovering the Past: The Role of Dust Imagery in ‘A Rose for Emily.’” Explicator, vol. 70, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 5–7. EBSCOhost, mendel.csuniv.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mzh&AN=2013583067&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Faulkner, William, and M T. Inge. A Rose for Emily. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, 1970. Print.

Kirchdorfer, Ulf. “‘A Rose for Emily’: Will the Real Mother Please Stand Up?” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews, vol. 29, no. 4, 2016, pp. 247–249. EBSCOhost, mendel.csuniv.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mzh&AN=2017381218&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Melczarek, Nick. “Narrative Motivation in Faulkner’s A ROSE FOR EMILY.” Explicator, vol. 67, no. 4, Fall 2009, p. 237. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00144940903250144.



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