“A Rose for Emily” Literary Analysis
Cameron Barba Ms. Carunchio English 11B 12 February 2009 “A Rose for Emily” Literary Analysis In “A Rose for Emily”, William Faulkner uses setting, character development, and stylistic devices to express the mystery of Emily and the somewhat gossip-obsessed attitude the townspeople have towards Emily. Faulkner uses the setting to convey the mystery surrounding Emily and her actions. For example, Faulkner writes ” knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. This quote shows the mystery of her house and how nobody knows what is in it or what goes on inside of it.
The townspeople are wondering what goes on behind Miss Emily’s closed doors.Also the townspeople give off a very southern racist attitude when he writes: The Construction company came with niggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee—a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the niggers, and the niggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. (pg.
50) Clearly one can see how the story takes place in a southern town. The setting affects how we look at the character because we are looking through the eyes of the townspeople. The southerners believed that she needed to act a certain way so that put a lot of pressure on Miss Emily to act rich like her family was even though she is poor. For example, she” demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson. “(pg.
651) Another writing tool Faulkner uses is the change in Miss Emily’s character. At first Miss Emily is ” a slender figure in white in the background” but then years later she is described as: small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. (pg. 647) Miss Emily has transformed from a once good looking lady to overweight bitter lady.
The townspeople are very interested in everything about her it seems and this is just another topic they gossip about.Another example of Miss Emily’s character change and how it relates to the mystery surrounding her is at first she starts going out “on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy and the matched team of bays from the livery table. ” Then, later on, she wants poison for some odd reason and says “I want arsenic, The druggist looked down at her. She looked back at him, erect, her face like a strained flag…. What you are going to use it for. Miss Emily just stared at him.
“(pg. 651) Miss Emily is performing many strange actions that spark the interest of the townspeople.The inhabitants of the town try to give any explanation for the mystery of why she’s buying the poison, such as she is going to commit suicide. Her actions are just encouraging the townspeople to gossip about the mystery. Faulkner utilizes stylistic devices such as imagery, and figurative language to express the townspeople and their feeling towards Emily.
For example, the author describes Miss Emily in great detail such as “her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as the moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand. This shows how the people look at her, with a feeling of what seems to be disgust and wonder, a wonder of what she is all about and why she goes about in mystery and trying to conceal her actions such as the poison from everybody. From the style of writing you can tell the townspeople are very interested in Miss Emily, another example of this being, “then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. ” They seem to be talking about and watching her every move.