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The novel a rose for Emily I a story all about a woman who encountered a tragedy and no one could help it. The first line of this story sets a mood that Jefferson's people pitied Emily particularly when Miss Emily Griesson died. The entire town went to the funeral: the men through some sort of respect and affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity too see the inside of her house, which no one save manservant- a combined gardener and cook-had seen in at least ten years." This moment is an evidence of how Emily was isolated from the people of her town. There was a division between her and the town.
There are various events in the story that portray a theme of isolation emotionally or physically. This story shows us the way through which human being become isolated by the family, community, law and by their actions and choices. It still stands against such isolation and against all those who isolate others. "After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all." This statement clearly proves that Emily was isolated. Her dad isolated her from gentlemen and still the whole Homer Barron thing isolated her from people apart from Tobe.
This story introduces the idea of past and memory; it shows a southern town tattered between past and present."Already we knew that there was one room in that region above stairs which no one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced." This strictly shows the total memory of the town, passed from one generation to the other. Before Emily died, forty years before Homer Barron was killed and lime powder sprinkled to clear the unpleasing smell, hence townspeople were conquered. (Faulkner, 951-957)
A rose for Emily brings forth the idea of taking off our unclear glasses and see the reality in the face. It shows how tough it can be to see the present and past honestly and clearly by seeing memory as subjective. This situation is one of the many reasons that make Emily to go insane as so closely it appears so. The quote "See colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson." Shows how Emily tries to bring about her version of the reality to remain real yet she could not bring back the already dead colonel. At Jefferson, Emily never paid taxes. "When she opened the package at home it was written on the box, under the skull and bones: (for rats)." Emily is trying to hide the truth from the pharmacist who used the whole afternoon spreading the rumors that Miss Emily had arsenic.
Forgiveness and compassion is another truth that is portrayed in almost the whole story. To some extent it is hard to point out various occasions that spell out compassion and forgiveness, especially at the beginning of the story which sets off with a funeral. The story argues that forgiveness, compassion and understanding can only come out by facing the past and the present which are put together tightly. The writer is merciless and painful in this story but the spirit of compassion is seen throughout the story. "Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying." This looks like a moment of compassionate towards Emily. Colonel is seen to be compassionate in his way of coming up with a story to defend Emily from the town people. By paying taxes Emily would turn into an ordinary member of the town.
The novel too spells out the idea of America's vision; it deals with the refusal of some people from south failing to see America as changing nation, they believed it is no more the America full of slavery. The novel covers 74 years sometimes before the civil war. "Then the newer generation became the backbone and the spirit of the town, and the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her with boxes of color and tedious brushes and pictures cut from the ladies' magazines." This brings about the idea of changes in America. Former pupil from Emily class did not want their children to have a life like that lived by Emily. They want their children to be brought in a better way.
At the beginning of the story there is burial ceremony for Miss Emily Grierson. Everybody in the town was there. Men mainly were there because they had some good feelings toward her and they really loved her. It may not be sincere for one to identify the men's intentions to attend the burial through the conclusion that they just admired Emily. The townspeople saw her as a "fallen monument." This is doubtful as a monument is a structure that is built for the remembrance of great people, yet there is no greatness within Miss Emily Grierson personality. She was reluctant to pay taxes and yet a bad smell was coming from her house which was due to the rotten Homer's body. Her character does not fit in the modern society; this leaves the reader with doubts whether she was a fallen monument.
There is still comparison of various events, the narrator describes Emily as ".......a 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 person was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand."
Emily sometimes was described as "...Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single..." these two descriptions show some different character s in Emily of both past and present. This is foreshadowing of how various changes would occur in future generation. The slender figure shows the benefits that peaceful country enjoys. (Klein, 229-232)
The narrator in this story represents the southern society while Miss Emily's actions lead to rebellion against the values shown by the southern people. Miss Emily attitude towards men makes her to take matters on her own hand; this clearly comes out when she murdered Homer who had rejected her. Feelings of doubt begin to show up owing to the Emily's decision to kill Homer and the writer's explanation as pertains to this.
The author thinks that Emily's attitude towards men is the major cause though this might have been triggered by the northern people in one way or the other. This is because the southerners were known of their good values and virtues which of course Emily was rebellious against, a strategy to maintain good relationship with the northern people. Some evidence showed that Homer Barron was a homosexual and that is why he rejected Emily. Despite her rejection of the southern values, she became a prisoner in her own home; this shows she paid a price for going against them.
"From that time, her front door remained closed, save for a period of six or seven years, when she was about forty, during which she gave lessons in china-painting." At this juncture Emily's hope is fading away since the former students were keeping their children away from her.