Literary Analysis of "A Rose For Emily"

Essay by crissycasCollege, UndergraduateB, November 2010

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Literary Analysis Essay of "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

William Faulkner was raised in and heavily influenced by the state of Mississippi during the Civil War and Great Depression. It marked his sense of humor, his sense of the tragic position of blacks and whites, his characterization of Southern characters and timeless themes. He uses his knowledge of southern tradition in this story of a black woman from a respectable family who slowly goes crazy from loneliness. He never even mentions a rose in the story. So what/where is the rose? You must read the story to understand what the rose is. The protagonist is Miss Emily Grierson, who grew up being kept pure by her father and then after his death she attempts to find a husband and gets forsaken. The story is told by several generations of townspeople, who are on the outside looking into Emily's life.

The author uses imagery to show how isolation can rot the mind. Since this was written during the period of Modernism you will see examples of alienation, nihilism and physical wastelands.

By the author showing how the Grierson home had deteriorated he implies that Emily herself is decaying. One's home is a representation of one's self. If a home is falling apart then so must its owner. Emily's home is, "a big squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies/set on what had once been our most select street" (90). After years have gone by the house was "lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores." (90). It is now shabby and in an industrial section of town. The inside of the house was also abandoned. "It smelled of dust and...