Emily through the eyes of the townspeople, who narrate William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily." The townspeople's understanding of Emily is limited by prevailing norms and values: as a mysterious and almost antisocial woman, Emily subverts gender norms and roles in the traditional Southern community. Emily never marries, although she is rejected by two men. Her fear of abandonment is the only identifiable aspect of Emily's character, as her abandonment issues are made clear relatively early in the story: "After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all," (Faulkner II). The final straw for Emily, what set her over the edge into committing a murder-suicide, was Homer Barron. Barron is described in terms almost as ambiguous as Emily herself. He is a Yankee -- a northerner -- and it may be that he was both a person of color and gay too. He is described as a "a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face," suggesting that he may have at least been of mixed race or African-American, from a free state in the North. (Faulkner III). If indeed Homer Barron was black, Emily's subversion of Southern social norms would have been striking. Furthermore, it is also implied that Homer Barron is openly gay, as "he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men," (Faulkner, IV). Homer admits to not being a "marrying man," further evidence that he was likely gay, the main reason for his rejection of Emily's sexual advances and her desire to marry him (Faulkner IV). Unable to deal with the pain and humiliation of being spurned yet again, and feeling perhaps like a fool, Emily decides to kill both Homer and herself.
Her character is unapologetic, a mainstay of society and yet self-centered and self-absorbed, contributing nothing to the community. Like slavery, Emily plays no legitimate or real role in her town, yet the townspeople cannot escape her presence. When she dies, the town is rid of the last vestiges of a dying age yet still need to contend with the bitter aftermath of the institution of slavery: symbolized by death and the pitiful clinging to life. Emily was, in life and death, a "hereditary obligation upon the town," (Faulkner I). Emily's character does not change throughout the story, just as the nature of slavery never did change. Only her physical appearance -- superficial and external things like her hair color and her weight -- change as she ages. Like the enduring presence of racism in the South, Emily's personality does not change.
Although she represents a dying age, Emily usurps traditional gender norms in Southern society by refusing to marry. Her lack of interest in settling down with a husband cannot be viewed as a conscious decision, as she seems to love Homer Barron and does try to get married not once, but twice. When it turns out that Homer Barron is not interested in…
This is why Homer is killed: he has lied to Emily and to the townspeople, and his deceit is punishable by death (at least, so it seems to Emily -- if Blythe is correct in his analysis). This is why the tension that exists between Emily and the community comes to the forefront in the first place: "Every human lives in a social environment and is influenced by surrounding
Though my loneliness certainly isn't as extreme as Emily's, and I do not think I would want to sleep next to a corpse for years instead of finding people to interact with in the outside world, the sense of being cut off from those around you and kept in a separate bubble is something I can relate to. There are times when I have exactly this feeling as a
Along with her psychological behavior, her social behavior was also completely absurd and she proved this when she poisoned Mr. Homer Barron, a Yankee with whom she started dating after Mr. Giererson's death. Faulkner has emphasized on racism and addressed Homer as "a big, dark, ready man with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face," in other words he was a nigger. Emily was aware of the
The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father's death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee -- a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face (Faulkner 53). It is Emily's hanging onto the past that is the resounding feeling
According to McDermott, this direct lineage and relationship that both novels owe to Faulkner is tremendous. The murder of Homer is a flashback and a continuation of Emily's dysfunctional relationship with her father. Just as she later holds onto Homer's corpse, she also refuses to let her father's corpse go for three days. Although both male figures dominate her, she can not let them go. Her aberrant grieving for her
Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" William Faulkner's 1930 short story "A Rose for Emily" is about the sudden death of a town's most prominent old woman; the last remaining person who had experienced the American South before the American Civil War. She had the memories within her of a period of white domination and black subjection, which is mirrored in the relationship she had with her handyman. Money was power. Even