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Untouchable Rose

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mkalewine
Words 843
Pages 4
1st Essay
09/14/2006

An Untouchable Rose

The story, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner in 1900‘s, is about one woman’s life, from her being a teen to her death in her home. The town’s people did not like her, her family did not like her, but when she died, everybody showed up to Miss Emily’s Funeral. The only person to see Emily was her old manservant, a black man that was the cook and the gardener. The only time that the town would see him was when he went to the grocery store to shop. He would never talk to anybody while he was there. Miss Emily was not always alone. When she was younger, her father lived at the house with her. He was a man without his sanity. When ever a male would come to the house to see Emily, he would greet them at the door, and see them off before Emily could even say hello. The town used this excuse for Emily when her father died. The town had always respected Emily. She was “A slender figure in white,” as contrasted with her father, who was described as “a spraddled silhouette.” After the death of her father she became distant and aloof. Miss Emily seems to live in a sort of fantasy world where death has no real meaning. Miss Emily refuses to accept or even recognize, the death of her father or that of Colonel Sartor is . She does not want to acknowledge the fact that the world around her was changing therefore Miss Emily surrounds her self with death. Everyone in town thought she had gone crazy. Even through all her mysterious actions the town still respected her. She represented something in the past of the community and they kept their distance. Emily is given the “respectful affection of a fallen monument”. Everyone tries in his/her own way to reach out to her. The authorities came to her house, the minister dropped by, and “a few of the ladies had the nerve to show sympathy. Next, was the confrontation that Miss Emily had when taxes were collected from her. Emily seemed to get focused and act level headed. She was obviously a woman of tremendous firmness of will. She was utterly composed. Emily refused to believed that she owes any taxes. When the mayor protested, she did not recognize him as mayor. ”Her skeleton was small and spare,” “she looked bloated, like a body a long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue”. Her house , a fading photograph, “smelled of dust and disuse a closed, dank smell,” and when her guests are seated a “fainted dust” rises “sluggishly about their thighs”. The mysterious smell leaves in several weeks and Emily has aged to the point of near death, her image in the window “like the carven torso of and idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us , we could never tell which”. Finally, when she purchases the arsenic, she looks through her “cold, haughty black eyes” which peer from a “face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and the eye-sockets”. There was a mysterious love Emily had. She was the town aristocrat; Homer was the day labor. Emily was raised with Southern manners, while Homer was from the North and a Yankee. The South was the old and the North was a new. It appeared that Homer had won her over, as though reality had triumphed over her withdrawal and privacy. Emily’s denial of emotional love and her act of murdering Homer, let him enter into the fantasy world she retreated to . The living Emily and the dead Homer remained together and death could not separate them. Emily had conquered time, but only briefly by retreating into it. Emily was with Homer to in the fantasy world, permanently. Therefore, the world that Emily lived in was her own. Emily attempted to keep herself from the town, taxes, and the shock of love. She succeeded and went to live happily in her fantasy world of the past. It is interesting that she does not die in the fateful room, but instead is found in a room downstairs “in a heavy walnut bed with a curtain, her gray head propped up on a pillow yellow and moldy with age and a lack of sunlight”. The ladies from the town come with their “hushed, sibilant voices and their quick, curios glances,” apparently oblivious to the manservant’s stealthy exit out the back door. At her funeral the ladies are once again “sibilant”(snakelike) and “ghoulish“. Some of the old men were “in their brushed Confederate uniforms,”. This description would seem to explain the static nature of an unchanging Miss Emily “the carven torso of the idol in a niche”, the tableau vivant framed by the “back flung front door”, through which the secret might be unlocked and the unchanging nature of the manservant. It seem Faulkner has wrote a wonderful story, even though irony surrounds the ending.

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