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A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

william faulkner / a rose for emily / lover / love

Essay Topic:

The interpretation of the message of William Faulkner’s “ A Rose for Emily”.

Essay Questions:

Why is William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” considered to be a shocking literary masterpiece?

Why does William Faulkner use flashbacks to reinforce the message of the novel?

How is the question of morality brought up within the story?

Thesis Statement:

The author leads the reader to the understanding that one misfortune (Emily’s father controlling her private life) supported by another big one (Homer leaving Emily alone) may lead to “irreparable damage” to the morality of a person.

 

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

Introduction: William Faulkner’s works are stories that reveal the depth of a human soul and its torments. "A Rose for Emily" is a story with a plot that astonishes the reader and awakens the mind’s thirst for thinking. As every plot it is a complete slave of the master’s imagination and point of view, "A Rose for Emily" lives under the laws that are set by William Faulkner himself. Miss Emily Grierson is the main character of the story. Throughout the whole story the narrator tries to deliver his message with the means of flashbacking that makes the narrator’s position clearer for the reader. The plot is structured in a definite interesting way in order to emphasize certain moments and open logical consequences corresponding to the author’s view of the story. The author leads the reader to the understanding that one misfortune (Emily’s father controlling her private life) supported by another big one (Homer leaving Emily alone) may lead to “irreparable damage” to the morality of a person.

The headwaters of this damage may be observed in the public opinion and the incapability of a person to build any relationship due to the isolation: “None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily“[Faulkner, Section II].The development of the plot has a lot to do with the author’s belief that a person that has not got enough love may even be dangerous. The author shows that love is the most valuable thing a person might get. Primarily to this fact, Faulkner does not show the room where Emily’s lover is “now in the long sleep that out lasts love”[Faulkner, Section IV]. Such a position makes the narrator start his story from the point of Miss Emily’s death as a culmination of the whole story and the culmination of the event that the reader is about to get acquainted with. The “threads” of the past and the future cross in the present time in “A Rose for Emily”. The narrator shows how Emily’s inability to communicate caused her to lose the love of her life and commit an awful crime.The discovery of the room is left till the very end so that the reader would understand that after all nothing is more valuable then love in the life of every person. And at the end all that is left after all this love is a “profound and fleshless grin”[Faulkner, Section V].

Conclusion: Seeing all the sides of Emily’s life with the eyes of strangers helps the narrator to intensify what was going on in reality, showing how little people know and understand each other. The story is not given to the reader in the correct chronological order, nevertheless owing to this specific structure the narrator’s attitude to the value of the past is revealed. Owing to it the narrator contrasts the relief of the people in the beginning of the story with the constant judging in the middle and with the attempt to understand Emily at the end. This plot development makes a perfect base for the narrator’s message. In other words if William Faulkner could say it in couple of words they would have been: “Lack of love and attention may be lethal”.

 

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