Literary Criticism: "A Rose For Emily"

The rose in “A Rose for Emily’ is a symbol of pity which the readers would have towards Emily after reading her story. “A Rose for Emily” is a short fascinating story written by William Faulkner. It involves an old woman named Emily. She is the daughter of a rich man that was known as a hero in the town.

Emily’s dad was very overprotective towards her and when he dies, she keeps his body since she really loved him. The town gossips about her when she begins seeing a man named Homer. When Emily finds out he is going to leave her after telling him she loved him, she bought rat poison and killed Homer. Her neighbors complain of a stench, and when she dies they find the decaying bodies of her father and Homer. Out of the five reader response criticisms, three are usable to find these as such: character and the fear of change; the symbolism and how you should presume the actions of Emily; and anthropology by examining male superiority in the story.

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The character literary criticism can be used to analyze “A Rose for Emily” to show how death changes an individual. In the story, Faulkner wrote, “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body” (4). This depicts the message that she tried to hold on to him, even after his death. Although this was a sad moment for Emily, she was free from the control of her father. She didn’t take advantage of that opportunity because she wasn’t used to change and didn’t want to start adapting to it.

Every man that wanted her hand as she grew was denied her hand by Emily herself. Soon after, Emily fell in love with a guy named Homer and showed how she started to want someone. She told Homer of her profound love for him. He was eerie about her and was going to leave her so Emily killed him and kept his body so she can feel like she was with him until she died. She tried to replace the empty spot her father had in her heart, but it soon turned into the same idea her father had to be overprotective and keep her from doing anything. She was saddened her father left her and didn’t want to lose anyone she loved again.

Another example from the story says “She was sick for a long time. When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church window sort of tragic and serene” (4). This shows how Emily drastically changed and endured her father’s death. I can relate this feeling to how one of my close friends was a victim of gang violence. He was shot in the head and the day we visited him in the hospital we were devastated because of how despondent he looked. Days later, he passed away and I realized we needed to stop taking our lives for granted and live it to the fullest.

“A Rose for Emily” can be analyzed by examining the underlying hidden message found within the stories usage of symbolism. The hidden message that William Faulkner tried to express in his story was interpreting the next steps in the actions of Emily. “‘I want arsenic.’ ‘Why of course,’ the druggist said. ‘If that’s what you want.

But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for.’ ‘For rats.'” (5). Faulkner threw in hints of foreshadowing that most likely would not be noticed, and no one knows who exactly is going to be killed. Another occurrence in the story which shows foreshadowing happens when, “A neighbor saw the Negro man admit him at the kitchen door at dusk one evening.

And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron” (6). Also, shows how the disappearance of Homer was that he left Emily unnoticed, or she killed him. It is also interesting how she does not die with homer and dies in the basement. Either she regretted her actions or didn’t want to be remembered as the crazy lady who died beside her lover. Finally, “A Rose for Emily” is able to be analyzed through anthropology. Faulkner explains the roles of women in the South and how they were seen through the perspective of men.

“When Miss Emily Greisen died, our whole town went to her funeral: Men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house”. (1) This quote is one of many passages that show that Mr. Faulkner is attempting to make men the superior gender. The men went to see the hero they thought Emily was, and the women went to see the house. Which shows how they were only interested in being housewives which was how the old times put women into place. Emily had a feminist struggle when, “Her father denied any request for young men to spend time with Emily.

” (2) Emily was kept on lockdown and wasn’t allowed to date or even go outside her home. The statements made in this story suggest that women are inferior in its timeline. Death can cause one to become insane. “A Rose for Emily” shows how Emily couldn’t adapt to change since she was so dependent on her father. Although her father died, she kept his body to feel his presence even though he was gone spiritually. She also kept Homer’s body because he was going to leave her.

Emily didn’t want to lose anyone else that she loved so she slept with the body to act as if though things never changed. The reading response criticism of character was used to analyze the fear of change, symbolism to help foreshadow Emily’s actions, and males being treated better than the females in the story. Emily suffered by being blind and denying change. The rose is given to her as she is dead to comfort her and let her know that change is a good thing like seeing a bud blossom into a rose, and Emily stayed a bud.