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Importance Of Human Interaction In William Faulkner's A Rose For Emily

1371 words - 5 pages

Importance of Human Interaction in William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily


Are human beings responsible for the well being of others that they come into contact with? William Faulkner's story "A Rose for Emily" considers the significance that human interaction has or does not have on people's lives. Faulkner creatively uses a shocking ending to cause readers to reevaluate their own interactions with others in their lives. Throughout the story, Faulkner uses characters that may relate to the readers more than they want to admit. Homer Barron, the construction worker from the North, and the residents of Jefferson are used to expose the opportunities, although different, they are afforded to affect the life of Emily Grierson, who is the town's recluse. Faulkner offers Homer and the townspeople opportunities to affect Emily's life, and the story tells how these humans react to Emily and her situation. Ultimately, Homer and the townspeople choose not to intervene, and thus the devastation of Emily's life is inevitable.

First, before human interaction can occur, an emotional response has to be provoked. Faulkner uses human curiosity to provide the opportunities that Homer and the residents of Jefferson will have to affect Emily's life. At one time, all people would have wanted to be included in the same social class to which Emily and her father belonged. Just as in Faulkner's own life, the Civil War changed life in the South forever. Emily is now a misplaced icon as industry has taken over her street, and the once-beautiful house is decaying and oddly out of place among the garages and the machines. Faulkner refers to Emily's house as "an eyesore among eyesores." Like her house, Emily has fallen out of grace, and the townspeople see her as an oddity, a queer human being, one to be marveled at from a distance. This avoidance is one reaction that humans usually have toward people with whom they are uncomfortable. They are interested but fearful to get involved in someone's life that is troubled or different than theirs. The townspeople's curiosity is shown through their inquiries about the smell at Emily's house, the watching of the comings and goings of Tobe, who is Emily's Negro servant, and their observing the buggy rides that Emily is having with Homer. Despite the curiosity of the residents, not one of them reaches out a compassionate hand to Emily. While the townspeople choose to stay on the outer circle of human contact, Homer, on the other hand, pursues his curiosity and engages in a personal friendship with Emily. Faulkner tells the reader how Homer takes Emily for buggy rides and, according to the townspeople, has been seen going into Emily's house. Homer has really stirred up the gossips of the town as they discuss whether or not it is proper for Emily to so closely relate to a Northerner, who is considered below her social class. While Homer develops a relationship with Emily, he does not realize what emotional state Emily is in and...

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