William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short story about Emily Grierson, the main character whose life was a manifestation of an intriguing evolution from solitary destitute to latent madness. The story actually begun with Emily’s demise and told from an unknown narrator’s perspective; possibly a local member of the community or town where Emily resided. From the initial description, the image of Emily that was relayed included her living a reclusive life where no one, except her servant, was accorded the opportunity to be included. The story actually reveals that a woman descents into madness or hidden embodiment of mental illness.
A detailed description of Emily’s house was provided, symbolizing the townsfolk’s avid curiosity to its mysterious details. Likewise, Emily was depicted as a legend of the town, being a recipient of a perpetual dispensation of taxes from then mayor, Colonel Sartoris, ever since Emily’s father died. The narrator likewise described the time when the next generation of mayors and aldermen have reportedly decided to bill Emily for property taxes. It is during the visit to Emily’s house that a more detailed description of her physical appearance was effectively visualized; together with the air of arrogance and persistent determination to assert her stance.
An intensive depiction of the intriguing stench was presented next by the narrator; after initially inferring that Emily had been living alone after the death of her father and after her reported sweetheart allegedly left her. Likewise, Emily was also portrayed as contracting an illness for a long time; which coincided with the period when she apparently met Homer Barron, a foreman in a construction company that was contracted to pave the town’s sidewalks. The next discussion narrated Emily as purchasing poison, specifically arsenic from a druggist; where it was implied that the poison would supposedly be used for rats.
The narrator revealed some speculation from the townsfolk regarding Emily having married Homer Barron, and confirmed through her purchase of a man’s toilet seat, reportedly set in silver with inscriptions of her sweetheart’s initials; as well as a complete men’s outfit with nightshirt . However, strangely, town observers have apparently relayed the mysterious disappearance of Homer Barron. Subsequent events that were relayed included Emily’s decision for reclusion and her continued aging, described through her physical appearance as she was noted to grow fatter and her hair continued to turn gray. Likewise, the door of her house was described to remain shut and with only her old man servant, Tobe, being seen to go in and out of the mansion for errands to the town. There was a period of seven to eight years during which, it was indicated that Emily gave lessons on china-painting to the daughters and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris . Otherwise, Emily’s solitude continued to be observed and was aptly described, to wit: “she passed from generation to generation--dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse” .
Finally, her death was the subject of discussion where Tobe, was disclosed to have met the first ladies with their husbands into Emily’s house. The narrator revealed that these townspeople waited until she was buried when a room upstairs, believed to have been shut for more than 40 years was finally forced open. The secret of Emily was then revealed: the corpse of Homer Barron was apparently laid in the bed and on his side, through an indentation seen from the pillow, it was inferred that Emily laid silently beside him, as discovered through the long strand of iron-gray hair.
Faulkner, W. "A Rose for Emily." 1930/1958. xroads.virginia.edu. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/wf_rose.html. 7 November 2013.