A Rose for Emily Critique

A Rose for Emily is a recollection of the life of Emily Grierson on the day of her funeral. It talks of her actions and secrets that make up the peculiar woman. William Faulkner is one of the country’s greatest 20th century writers.

He is most known for writing about morals, as he does in this story. Using reader criticism, the reader can analyze William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily through character, secrets, and anthropologies. “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). The people of the town talk about when her father died, she kept his corpse in the house instead of letting it be taken away. They knew of her father’s oppressive nature, so when he passed away, they did not judge her when she couldn’t give up the one thing that she had in her life. “Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up” (Faulkner).

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Here, Emily is trying to buy poison for her own needs and she refuses to give in to the druggist inquiries as to what those needs are. She’s holding her own, and almost adapting a predatory stance, by holding her head high and keeping eye contact, to get what she wants. “‘I want some poison,” she said to the druggist” (Faulkner). Emily went to the pharmacy to buy some poison, but for reasons unknown. She refuses to tell anyone, even the druggist.

She very stern in the matter, and didn’t back down until she got what she wanted. “Thus she passed from generations to generation—dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse” (Faulkner). Emily mainly kept to herself. The town grew and changed around her, as did its people, while she stayed the same. She didn’t allow anyone into her own little world and she liked it that way. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant—a combined gardener and cook—had seen in at least ten years” (Faulkner).

The people who have watched her live her life in secrecy, watched her pass in a slight fascination, because now she’s gone. They don’t have her secrets to look for anymore, because they have her house at their disposal. Curiosity is human nature, which Emily must’ve known even though she kept everything a secret until her last breath. “Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted up something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair” (Faulkner).

After her death, the people went into her house and found a room that was dear to Emily. It held the long dead body of Homer Barron, her former lover. She had kept his body, very similar to how she kept her father’s body. They even found a strand of her own hair on the indented pillow next to the body, which makes it easy to assume that she slept next to body quite often. Based off of the character of Miss Emily, secrets, and anthropologies, William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily can be analyzed using reader criticism. One can learn from this story that there’s more to a person then what they see.

People keep secrets, and much like Emily, those secrets and be dark and perverse. This story is significant because it’s one of Faulkner’s most well-known short stories. He writes about a few topics that are very dark and possibly immoral, which make for a thrilling story.