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Acceptance Of Reality: Denying The Facts

1053 words - 5 pages

What is one’s life when they refuse to accept the reality of a life that is changing and continuing on in a forward motion? In William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily, he conveys the struggle that roots from the inability to realize what is unchangeable. Emily Gierson lives in a “timeless vacuum” and stays firmly planted in a subjective realm of time. Faulkner portrays emotions of love and realism through the characteristics of Emily. Due to a strong passionate love for the people in her life, Emily stays committed to the past and “attempts to exert power over death by denying the fact of death itself.” Emily is viewed as a monument in the town of Jefferson, much like the plantation home in ...view middle of the document...

Emily is a mysterious and secretive character. She is viewed as “an object of the town’s intense scrutiny.” On one level, she is unstable, excessively grievous, and subject to outlandish behavior. Emily expresses a sense of authoritywhen she refuses to pay her taxes and declines the request of attaching numbers to her house when federal mail service is instituted. She demands life on her own terms. The conflict that Emily faces is not against the town, it is against herself. She is incapable of facing reality and constantly lives in the past. The devastation that is caused by her father’s death turns Emily into “an object of pity for the townspeople.” It is not that Emily has authority in Jefferson; it is that the townspeople have an attitude of “poor Emily.”
The town of Jefferson holds a true significance in this story. Unlike Emily, Jefferson is based on mathematical precision and “objectivity of reality, in which times moves forward relentlessly.” Many things have changed in Jefferson yet Emily is unable to grasp them. Such as when the town confronts her of not paying her taxes she goes on to say: “See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson,” despite the verifiable truth that Colonel Sartoris had died ten years prior to. Though time is moving forward, Emily stays reluctantly committed to the past.
Through Faulkner’s writing, he shows that over powering love for someone can result in destruction. When Emily’s father dies, she is left with no one. The devastation that she faces after his death results in her going into denial. Emily denies her father’s death for three days. She cannot accept the thought of being alone. Her father was a controlling and had a looming presence, even in death. The dismissal of a male figure in Emily’s life forces her to move on to a man named Homer Baron, a city construction worker, one unsuitable for Emily in Mr. Grierson’s eyes. Emily falls in love with Homer but is filled with doubt that he will stay with her. Emily’s love for him is so compulsive; she “takes the life...

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