A Rose, Lastly
“A Rose for Emily” written by William Faulkner is a short story based on the life and death of Emily Pierson, the sole descendent of a long line of aristocrats in the town of Jefferson
Emily Pierson has lived a sheltered and lonely life protected by men. Her father was very protective and after her father’s death, the townsmen protected her from others and herself. In contrast, the townswomen judged her and meddled mercilessly in her life.
The story spans three generation’ s and is narrated by the townspeople in a random episodic order, the stories enfolded have a confessional quality albeit filled with excuses and cruelty.
Emily died a lonely spinster. As a young woman, her father spurned all potentials suitors away, and in her thirties, the town sabotaged what was her last chance of love and happiness. She becomes a recluse and never spoke to anyone. Her main human contact for over thirty years is that of her butler/cook Tobe. It is discovered after her death, that Emily Pierson was also a murderer.
Section one is “A Rose for Emily” begins with Miss Emily Grierson’s funeral. The narration immediately establishes the kind and accommodating demeanor of the men, the coldness of the women. “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house” (139). The opening statement also establishes that Emily was a celebrity of some sort, being depicted as a monument, though a fallen one. The narrators reveal their role in her life”: Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (140). The men from generation to generation are accommodating, starting with Colonel Sartoris, the mayor, who cancelled her taxes upon the death of her father (140). Even later, when the new generation started to bill her for her taxes, the new mayor was accommodating though in a lesser way:”They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff's office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her” (140).
Emily did not acquiesce to the Board of Aldermen request that she pay her taxes and section two of the story begins with “So she vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell.” The townspeople then reveal that a horrible smell began to emanate from her home “That was two years after her father's death and a short time after her sweetheart--the one we believed would marry her --had deserted her” (140). The townsmen were reluctant to confront Emily about the smell despite complaints from the townswomen and instead took matters in their own hands. “So the next night, after midnight, four men crossed Miss Emily's lawn and slunk about the house like burglars, sniffing along the base of the brickwork and at the cellar...