How How A Community's Actions, Or In This Case, Lack Of Action Can Contribute To One's Madness In "A Rose For Emily" By Faulkner.

1444 words - 6 pages

The year is 1852, Emily Grierson has just been born into the small town of Jefferson. A town she will soon discover has distinct hierarchial differences and social classes that are to be followed by everyone in her community. However this same community and the values which it holds will eventually be a key factor in determining Miss Emily's madness. 'A Rose for Emily', tells the story of a woman who fails to live up to her high reputation and fitting in a community where almost everyone knows each others business. William Faulkner lets the reader into the life of Emily Grierson from two different key perspectives, man and woman. The men represent respectful affection towards Emily, while the women are just plain curious and enjoy gossiping behind her back. In this story Faulkner reveals how a community's actions, or in this case, lack of action can contribute to one's madness.Faulkner opens 'A Rose for Emily' with a lengthy fifty-six-word single sentence that shows the community's reaction to her death and describes the scene through gender differences. Although both men and women attend the funeral, they do so for very distinct reasons. Faulkner writes, 'When Miss Emily 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, which no one save an old manservant- a combined gardener and cook- had seen in at least ten years' (p.52-53). With this initial passage we see what motivates the townspeople to attend Emily's funeral. Although the men attend the funeral to show a sort of respectful affection, the reader gets the feeling that the men have attended because they feel obligated to. The women on the other hand show up just so that they can see the inside of her house and learn more about her life. Although Emily is the main subject of the tale, Faulkner's description of the community's reaction toward her funeral, elevates the town as the truer subject. Also after reading this passage we are shown for the first time that Emily is viewed in the community as an object, a monument perhaps and this is where her person hood is lost. The town almost refers to her as a thing instead of as an individual. Another example, that shows Miss Emily as something other than human comes in the third paragraph as she is described as 'a tradition, a duty, and a care'.Usually when people know they are being watched or spied upon they often feel that their privacy has been invaded, which was the case of Miss Grierson. The townspeople always seemed to know of her whereabouts, who she was seeing and even the smell that ensued from her house. Passage after passage as the narrator reports of what is happening in Miss Emily's life, the reader gets the feeling she is being watched like a hungry shark. It's almost as if the townspeople take turns making note of her every move. For example, when Miss Emily's cousins were in town, Faulkner writes, 'we sat...

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